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GOOD Design Daily: A Coat to Help Detroit's Homeless GOOD Design Daily: A Coat to Help Detroit's Homeless

GOOD Design Daily: A Coat to Help Detroit's Homeless

by Alissa Walker

December 17, 2010



Detroit has counted over 18,000 homeless people in its population, a number that's certain to grow as economic conditions worsen. After spending months talking to people on the city's streets, design student Veronika Scott envisioned a way she could help, by designing a coat which could allow homeless people to stay warm, but also preserve their dignity. She designed what's essentially a wearable sleeping bag, which she named the Elements S[urvival] coat. Scott, who is a student at the Center for Creative Studies, has chronicled her work at a blog called The Empowerment Plan, where she goes into great detail about the coat's development. She shelled out $2,000 of her own money to construct several prototypes made from Tyvek, the insulating wrap you see gracing new construction.

But here's the really remarkable part, and why Scott's work is more than just a student project. After her class was over, Scott turned to Carhartt for help with production. The company, which is known for their super-heavy duty overalls for industrial workers and farmers, donated insulating materials like quilted nylon and sewing machines. She then partnered with a local homeless center, the Cass Community, which promised to house and feed the people who are making the coats, in addition to paying them minimum wage. Scott's idea to keep people comfortable on the sidewalk could actually offer enough real-world job training to help them get off the streets.

Top photos by Ruby Troyano

via NPR

detroit homelessness cities humanitarian design veronika scott center for creative studies design enterprise
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