Meet the Makers: The Empowerment Plan

How the non-profit’s coat, sleeping bag project continues to expand

Veronika Scott began The Empowerment Plan when she was tasked with creating a product “designed to fill a need” during her time at the College for Creative Studies. Her creation? Coats — made partly from upcycled automotive insulation — that double as sleeping bags for the homeless.

Since its inception in 2012, The Empowerment Plan has grown into a business with an incredible footprint. The soon- to-be 60-person team has taken over a 21,000-square-foot building near West Village. She and her team visit the city’s shelters, interviewing women to employ as seamstresses. After four to six weeks, most employees can move into permanent housing, and after two years, they transition into employment elsewhere.

Other regions have taken notice. Scott is working on expanding to cities like Chicago and New York, but Detroit will always be home.

“I wouldn’t have been able to start The Empowerment Plan in any other place in the world, because of the amount of support I’ve received from large and small companies here in Detroit that believe in order for the city to succeed, we all must rise with the tide,” Scott says.

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