Eight years ago while attending the College for Creative Studies, Veronika Scott designed something to “fill a need” in Detroit.
Today she’s built an organization around that single idea: a coat designed specifically for the homeless and manufactured by the homeless. To date she has distributed over 25,000 to those in need across the U.S. and Canada.
Scott, a College for Creative Studies graduate, found her inspiration on the streets and has transformed countless lives with a simple product – a fully insulated, waterproof coat that converts into a sleeping bag and a knapsack. By hiring homeless individuals from local shelters to help manufacture the coats, she helps them get their lives back on track through The Empowerment Plan.
“In Detroit, there’s this large homeless population, and they kind of just disappear into the landscape. I wanted to design for this whole population of people that we just don’t see.”
EXP: Where does your inspiration come from?
VS: Where else in the world, but Detroit? I wouldn’t have been able to start The Empowerment Plan anywhere else. Detroit is such a unique mixture of issues and problems, but at the same time, there is a community here that is unlike any other. If you have lived here for the last 5 or 10 years, you can see that there has been a lot of positive change.
EXP: Where are some of your favorite spots in the city?
VS: I will order anything at Seldon Standard. Everything on the menu is perfection, they can do no wrong! I love coming back here often since they’re known to change up the menu with each season. Can’t beat soaking up some sunshine on the outdoor patio in the Summer, too!
Honest Johns is a staple for me, and my favorite dish is The Pocket of Joy. It’s part of the vegetarian section on the menu — hummus, spinach, cucumber, tomato, and feta cheese on a pita.
I always order the special at The Farmer’s Hand. Their food is so fresh and I love that everything is locally sourced in Michigan. I also love the grocery component — I’m usually in need of something for my own kitchen.
The cold brew at Anthology Coffee is my absolute favorite in the city- I take mine black.
The Irish Coffee Slushies at The Skip are to DIE for and are beyond refreshing after a long day.
The Detroit Institute of Bagels is an easy stop for me for breakfast or lunch in a hurry. My go-to order is The Leo — smoked salmon, eggs, and onion on an everything bagel and add avocado.