The Empowerment Plan is a Detroit-based non-profit organization dedicated to serving the homeless community. Their goal is to help build a better life for those that have become trapped in the cycle of homelessness. They mostly hire homeless parents from local shelters to become full time seamstresses so that they can earn a stable income, find secure housing, and gain back their independence for themselves and for their families.
Veronika Scott started The Empowerment Plan as a 20-year-old product design student in Detroit. She was told over and over again that it would fail because the homeless people she wanted to hire would be worthless. In her own w0rds, “everyday I enjoy proving all of those people wrong. Everyone I hire is powerful, driven, and I’m lucky to be a part of their lives.”
The individuals Veronika hires are trained to manufacture a The EMPWR Coat, a water-resistant and self-heating jacket, which can transform into a sleeping bag, or be worn as an over-the-shoulder bag when not in use. The coat is constructed of upcycled automotive insulation, fabric from Carhartt, and other materials provided by generous donors.
The Empowerment Plan can produce 1,000 coats on a budget of $100,000. Their studies show that for each 1,000 coats distributed, they can save 14 lives and reduce healthcare costs by $58,800 annually. Also, each recipient of an EMPWR Coat will make at least one less emergency room visit per year due to hypothermia. Assuming an average cost of $4,200 per visit, the organization estimates reduced healthcare costs of $58,800 for every 1,000 coats they distribute. Each year approximately 7% of homeless individuals die from hypothermia. The EMPWR coat reduces that statistic by over 20%.
It costs $100 to sponsor a coat, which covers the cost of labor, materials, and overhead expenses. Veronika’s goal this year is to produce and distribute 6,500 coats across the United States and Canada.
Veronika and The Empowerment Plan believe in giving second chances to those who want it, and providing warmth to those who need it.