Empowerment Plan in Detroit makes coats for homeless, provides support

DETROIT – The Empowerment Plan is a nonprofit that makes coats for those in need while also providing training and jobs for Detroit's homeless population.

READDetroit coat maker for homeless expands into new production space

Ebonie Sharper said she remembers what it felt like walking into a Detroit homeless shelter in February of 2013.

"I was crying and I had a trash bag with all of my belongings well the 11 pieces of clothes that they said that we could bring in," Sharper said.

After a bad relationship and losing her job Sharper and her children had nowhere to go.

"I wasn't getting employment easily and so at the time the Empowerment Plan came into the shelter," Sharper said.

Sharper was hired by the Empowerment Plan and her life changed.

"Oh,  man, you just have no idea. Well, it opened up the door for a lot of opportunities," Sharper said.

The idea for the Empowerment Plan came from Veronika Scott as a class assignment that started in a utility closet inside of a shelter.

"I think we made a couple hundred coats that entire first year we were not very efficient," Scott said.

Now the Empowerment Plan has moved to a 21,000 square foot warehouse. The program provides jobs for the homeless and helps give them training and support to break the poverty cycle.

Sharper was dedicated and she took three buses to get to her job, taking nearly two hours each way, but she did it for an opportunity to learn and earn money to provide for her children.

"We'll give people the opportunity but it's up to them to take it and she has taken it and run with it and she's also so excited about the company as a whole and sees the culture of it," Scott said.

The Empowerment Plan has distributed about 35,000 coats not only in the United States but throughout the world.




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