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The Empowerment Plan via Facebook
The Empowerment Plan via Facebook

This Coat Turns Into a Sleeping Bag for the Homeless

The Empowerment Plan via Facebook
The Empowerment Plan via Facebook

Like many metropolitan areas, Detroit continues to struggle with a significant homeless population. By one estimate, roughly 86,000 people in the city [PDF] have no roof over their heads. Many of the proposed solutions often involve mental health care, shelter, and job placement. But sometimes addressing the issue comes down to something as simple as making sure people stay warm.

As reported by designboom, the nonprofit Empowerment Plan's EMPWR jacket uses upcycled automotive insulation to provide a waterproof exterior and heat-trapping interior. When it’s not being worn as a coat, it can be modified to function as a sleeping bag.

The Empowerment Plan via Facebook

The jacket was the invention of Veronika Scott, who also spearheaded the idea to hire single parents from Detroit-area shelters to work in the factory constructing the coats. (Each costs roughly $100 in labor and materials.) The Empowerment Plan makes use of GED education and other resources to help employees transition into more stable living situations.

The coats are distributed nationally, with more than 15,000 currently in use. A similar idea, the Sheltersuit, is being distributed in the Netherlands.

[h/t designboom]

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Animals
Atlanta Shelters Give Pups a Temporary Home for the Holidays
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The holidays are looking a little brighter for adoptable dogs from two animal shelters in Atlanta, Georgia. As ABC News reports, a new program called Home for the Pawlidays is providing temporary homes to longer-term residents of Fulton County Animal Services and DeKalb County Animal Services for the week of Thanksgiving.

The initiative was organized by Atlanta's LifeLine Animal Project, a local group dedicated to providing healthcare and homes to shelter dogs. The dogs that were chosen for the project may be older, have special health needs, or other issues that make it more difficult to find them forever homes.

But from November 18 to 25, the dogs are getting to spend time away from the shelter and in the homes of loving foster families.

“We were thinking, everyone gets a break from work, and they should get a break from the shelter,” LifeLine’s public relations director Karen Hirsch told ABC News.

Some caretakers have already fallen in love with their four-legged house guests. Foster Heather Koth told ABC that she hadn’t been considering adoption, but after meeting Missy the shelter dog, she now plans to foster her until she has a permanent home or possibly adopt the dog herself.

And for the dogs that can’t be kept by their temporary owners, just a week of quality playtime and sleeping in a real bed can make a huge impact. You can check out photos of the pets who are benefiting from the program this week below.

[h/t ABC News]

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This Just In
Kentucky City Lets Residents Pay Parking Tickets With Canned Goods
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Racking up parking fines? If you live in Lexington, Kentucky, you can pay off your tickets with canned food donations.

ABC 36 reports that, for the fourth year in a row, the city's “Food for Fines” program will help stock the shelves of God’s Pantry Food Bank—a member of Feeding America—throughout the holiday season. Beginning today, the city’s local parking authority is allowing residents with outstanding citations to donate preserved goods in lieu of cash through December 15.

Ten cans will get residents a $15 credit on any parking citation. And for drivers with a drawer-full of tickets, they can bring as many cans as they can carry to earn a $15 credit per 10-can donation. (Yes, even past due citations are eligible.)

"During the previous three years we have collected 24,500 cans of food, which is the equivalent of 12 tons or 16,000 meals,” Parking Authority executive director Gary Means said in a press release.

If you're planning on donating, make sure to check the date: Expired items won't be accepted.

[h/t ABC 36]  

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