This Coat Turns Into a Sleeping Bag for the Homeless

Jake Rossen
The Empowerment Plan via Facebook
The Empowerment Plan via Facebook / The Empowerment Plan via Facebook

Like many metropolitan areas, Detroit continues to struggle with a significant homeless population. By one estimate, roughly 86,000 people in the city [PDF] have no roof over their heads. Many of the proposed solutions often involve mental health care, shelter, and job placement. But sometimes addressing the issue comes down to something as simple as making sure people stay warm.

As reported by designboom, the nonprofit Empowerment Plan's EMPWR jacket uses upcycled automotive insulation to provide a waterproof exterior and heat-trapping interior. When it’s not being worn as a coat, it can be modified to function as a sleeping bag.

The jacket was the invention of Veronika Scott, who also spearheaded the idea to hire single parents from Detroit-area shelters to work in the factory constructing the coats. (Each costs roughly $100 in labor and materials.) The Empowerment Plan makes use of GED education and other resources to help employees transition into more stable living situations.

The coats are distributed nationally, with more than 15,000 currently in use. A similar idea, the Sheltersuit, is being distributed in the Netherlands.

[h/t designboom]