Veronika Scott, a junior at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, has embarked on a quest to help over 32,000 homeless Detroiters by providing them with something basic, but much needed: a winter coat. The problem of the immense number of homeless is exacerbated by the lack of funding for proper shelters, leaving half of them out in the cold. As Scott points out, "for those who have no home, their coat is also their shelter," so rather than just clothe those in need, she's developed a hybrid shelter and garment—the coat turns into a sleeping bag, using body heat captured during the day to provide extra warmth at night.
The Element S coat is made from Tyvek and wool, simple enough to be made by first time sewers, and, in fact, designed to be. Scott hopes the production of these coats will teach people new skills, help them find employment, and inspire a sense of pride.
Though one of a number of garment/shelters recently designed for the world's homeless, this one's already found a foothold towards becoming a reality, with Detroit-based Carhartt acting as a sponsor. Thanks to the added support of Cass Community Social Services, Matthew Arnold, Jody Turner and CCS, the Element S coat is beginning production now. You can help with the first 25 by donating money, materials, or purchasing a jacket for someone in need. Starting in December, the coat and other items will be available for general purchase, with all proceeds going towards Veronika Scott's Empowerment Plan.