Some of you might have heard the NPR Morning Edition radio segment on Veronika Scott, the junior design student at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies who developed a coat out of Tyvek and wool that converts to a sleeping bag for the homeless. It’s such a great combination of creativity, social activism, and youthful energy that we wanted to pass the story along.
Dupont’s tyvek material, discovered in 1955 by researcher Jim White, is extremely strong, tear-resistent, and serves as a vapor barrier in the building trades. Made of polyethylene fiber, it serves as the exterior layer of the Element Survival Coat to help protect the wearer from cold and dampness. Wool cloth has been donated to the project by Detroit-based Carhartt, a work clothing manufacturer. The homeless are being hired by the Empowerment Project to make the coats. They’re paid a minimum wage at the same time they’re learning valuable skills. To learn more about Veronika’s “Element Survival Coat, go to her Empowerment Plan web site.