Detroit nonprofit organization The Empowerment Plan is behind a special coat that meets the needs of the homeless population, but it’s not just any coat. It transforms from a coat into a sleeping bag, and even folds up to become a backpack.
“They're extremely durable -- water resistant, weather resistant, and they go down to sub-zero temperatures,” said Empowerment Plan development director Erika George told FOX 2.
The fortunate have a warm bed to brave cold winter nights. For the homeless, it can be life or death. Dan Chester, a philanthropist from Chicago, came to Detroit to buy 130 of the special coats for the homeless in the Windy City.
"A couple weeks ago in Chicago, we had a homeless man who died while sleeping in the park. We thought that this coat could potentially have saved this man's life," Chester said. "Last year we gave out hats, gloves and socks, and this year, a friend of mine and I were sitting on the couch and it was, what do we do this year? What do we do to up our game?" he explained.
But it’s not just the final product that is helping people. The Empowerment Plan employs 22 people that were once on the streets, and elevates them from the generational cycle of homelessness-- employees like seamstress Tamika Evans.
“I was there myself one time, and just to be able to do something is really going to make a difference in someone's day or night,” she said.
The Empowerment Plan has produced and distributed over 15,000 coats across 40 states since 2011. Watch the video to see the coats in action.