The non-profit hires homeless women from local shelters to become full-time seamstresses who then make coats which transform into sleeping bags for the homeless.
Creating jobs that lift people out of poverty permanently
The Empowerment Plan is a non-profit organisation dedicated to serving the homeless community. They hire homeless women from local shelters to become full time seamstresses. These women manufacture a coat that transforms into a sleeping bag, which is then given out to homeless individuals living on the streets at no cost to them.
The Plan has employed 45 homeless people who have all now secured permanent housing
Detroit-based nonprofit The Empowerment Plan is focused on permanently elevating families from the generational cycle of homelessness. They hire single parents from local shelters and provide them with training and full-time employment as seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and regain their independence.
The individuals they hire manufacture a coat designed to meet the needs of those in the homeless community. The durable EMPWR Coat can transform into a sleeping bag at night or an over- the-shoulder bag when not in use.
Since 2012, The Empowerment Plan has provided employment to 45 homeless individuals — all of whom have now secured permanent housing for themselves and their families — and distributed over 25,000 coats to those in need across the world.
Company founder and CEO, Veronika Scott, was inspired to start The Empowerment Plan when a class at The College for Creative Studies in Detroit challenged her to create a product to fill an actual need in her community.
Veronika took to the issue of homelessness and began spending time at a nearby warming center where the design for the EMPWR coat was born. While conducting her research, Veronika was angrily confronted by a homeless woman who stated that she did not need a coat—she needed a job.
This is the moment that shaped the innovative business practices The Empowerment Plan would adopt upon establishment.
The Empowerment Plan believe homelessness should not be a life sentence
The Empowerment Plan is predominantly supported by donations from private individuals, large corporations and foundations. Also, they would not be able to accomplish all that they do without the help of local organisations:
- The Coalition On Temporary Shelter (COTS) assists with employee recruitment and childcare needs.
- As employees successfully transition from homelessness, Humble Design provides the seamstresses with appropriate furnishings and amenities for their new homes.
- Partners such as Pro-Literacy Detroit, Level One Bank, COTS, and 2-Way Communications LLC provide the seamstresses with on-the-clock, supplemental programming including GED courses, financial literacy classes, professional development seminars, and more.
The Empowerment Plan say they are committed to growing their impact beyond Detroit and believe their model can and should be replicated in communities near and far. By scaling their Detroit program, they are creating a workforce from a population many overlook. Homelessness should not be a life sentence.
Sponsor a coat to be given to someone in need by making a donation here
It costs $100 to sponsor a coat, which covers the cost of labor, materials, and overhead expenses. You don’t have to donate the full $100, but anything you can spare is deeply appreciated.