Feature Photo: Britanny Thomasson| Photo Above: Britanny Thomasson

Veronika Scott, a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, has created the Elements S(urvival) coat, which can also be used as a sleeping bag.

It all started with a school project and the intention to do something good within her community. After talking to hundreds of homeless men and women, Veronika found that what they needed most was heat. The 21 year old design student then decided to create a coat that keeps the wind out, the heat in, and that can also be used as a sleeping bag.

Veronika took the design to the Dean of her college, Imre Molnar (a former design director for Patagonia), who was so impressed he called up the CEO of Carhartt. After that phone call, the company donated sewing machines, zippers, and the time of one of their seamstresses to train the people who will be building these coats.

The sleeping bag coat is made of Tyvek (the white plastic home insulation material) and wool/other synthetic materials, with buttons and cords made from PVC and plastic tubing. The supplies cost approximately $5-10, and the coats will be created by men and women residing at the Cass Community in exchange for minimum wage payment, full time housing, and meals. Once the coats are made, the public will be able to purchase them for people in need for $40-60.

Despite the generous donations received thus far, Veronika still runs the program out of pocket, so donations are always welcome. She especially needs:

    synthetic fabrics: nylon, polyester, fleece, or polartec (no cotton)
    wool
    thread
    velcro
    PVC tubing
    plastic cord
    hot glue guns
    scissors
    pins

Donations or a check made out to Cass Community Social Services: The Coat Project (it’s tax-deductible) can be mailed to Veronika at:

Cass Community Social Services: The Coat Project
11850 Woodrow Wilson Street
Detroit, MI 48206

The goal is to create 25 coats for the pilot program by the end of February.

For more information, visit The Empowerment Plan blog or follow Veronika on Twitter.

Source: Detroit Free Press, NPR

Community Connection:

Looking to make a difference in your community? Check out our volunteer page for ideas!