Veronika Scott doesn't just create coats, but also jobs for Detroit's homeless community
June 6, 2016
Six years ago, Veronika Scott accepted a challenge from her college professor: Design something to "fill a need" in Detroit.
"In Detroit, there's this large homeless population, and they kind of just disappear into the landscape," Scott said. "I wanted to design for this whole population of people that we just don't see."
In 2010, Scott created a fully insulated, waterproof jacket that converts into a sleeping bag and knapsack. She called it the EMPWR coat. But Scott's work was far from finished. As she handed out the coats one day, a woman in a shelter shouted, "We don't need coats. We need jobs."
Today, Scott and her nonprofit, the Empowerment Plan, hire homeless individuals from local shelters to help manufacture the coats. Employees receive training and other support services to help them get their lives back on track.
"Growing up, both my parents struggled with unemployment and addiction. We were constantly moving around. When you're raised in someone else's rock bottom, it shapes how you look at the world. For me, it was really difficult. I wanted to create an opportunity that I wish my parents had when I was a kid." – Veronika Scott