Coat/sleeping bag for homeless people

posted in: Designing, Inspiration | 10
Phil Spencer at Homes for Britain
Homes for Britain, Cllr Homan, Phil Spencer, me, Paul Doe

By now most people who read this blog know that I am involved in housing and homelessness in London. By building 1,500 homes each year Notting Hill Housing makes a real contribution to providing homes for low income Londoners. We also support other charities like St Mungos-Broadway which exists specifically to provide for single and street homeless people. Here I am with TV’s Phil Spencer, a big supporter of the charity, Paul Doe, their Chairman, and Councillor Lisa Homan from LBHF – supporting Homes for Britain.

I was therefore interested to hear via Twitter of a young woman in Detroit who had designed a coat that double as a sleeping bag for street homeless people. Obviously a home, or even a shelter, would be a better offer than a sleeping bag, but I thought this project was really interesting. Design student Veronika Scott created a warm jacket that turns into a full size sleeping bag at night.

Veronika Scott coat
Veronika Scott in her coat

When he heard of her work the waste recycling officer from Chrysler got in touch to offer off cuts  of the fabric that is used to insulate and finish cars and trucks. It is quilted, stain and water resistant. Veronika recycles this product to mass produce jacket sleeping bags. She has taught dozens of homeless women how to sew the garments on industrial machines.  She currently employs 20 homeless women to make the jackets which are distributed to homeless people.

Veronika says that she wanted the coat to look good as well as being practical and she has been refining the design. Maybe the best thing about this project is that unemployed and homeless women have learnt to sew – a skill which could provide employment, and hopefully housing, for them in the near future.

10 Responses

  1. Oh wow they’re amazing and the cosiest coat ever! But yes even better that she employs homeless people to sew them. Inspiring 🙂

  2. Talk about making a difference, what a fabulous idea made real. That’s quite made my morning, thank you!

  3. Naturally I’d like to see everyone with a home, but wonderful creative thinking from this young designer. It’s not the perfect solution by any means, yet headed in the right direction. I agree another fabulous addition is the skills being learnt.
    Oh yes, I did recognize Phill from tv instantly, loved the humor in that show! Good on you Kate, keep up the good work!

  4. Wow, what a great cause! How wonderful she is teaching homeless women to sew! Thanks for the inspiring story!

  5. Helping women become more independent should be our first priority! Three cheers for that coat project and the good it is doing. Thanks, Kate, for such an uplifting story!

  6. This is an amazing story. Homelessness is such a challenging problem all over the place, but it is heartening to see her offering work and skills to give formerly-homeless women a hand up. Three cheers for Ms. Scott! PS I also recognize Phil Spencer from tv – I quite like him in the programs I’ve seen him in. Go, K!

  7. I saw this on a news show. What a wonderful idea. Not only to create the coat but to give needy women a job and teach them a skill.

  8. What a fabulous idea! I loved this post.

  9. Brenda Marks

    You may have seen this – http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/shoes-hide-portable-shelter-sibling.html. I think the coat looks more useful. I’m just glad I have a roof!

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