In the world we see, women, children and families living in poverty are no longer victims. Instead, they are the architects of their own future. They are educated. They are employed. And they are empowered.
More than 550,000 people experience homelessness on a given night in the United States and roughly 10,000 live in Michigan.
Homelessness is a cycle in which becoming trapped is all too easy. One young college student knew firsthand what an unstable childhood stuck in poverty could mean. With that in mind, Veronika Scott set out to create an opportunity she wished her own family had been given. Initially, this opportunity took the form of a coat—a coat that could turn into a sleeping bag. Pursuing this vision, Veronika spent a semester designing this coat not only for individuals in need, but also with them.
It wasn't until a homeless woman approached Veronika that she realized the true potential of her project. This woman did not want a coat; she wanted a job. It was at that moment Veronika committed to hiring parents from shelters across Detroit to manufacture the coats in an effort to help families break that vicious cycle of poverty and become financially secure.
“This is the first job that has given
me a sense of self-worth and value.
I feel like I am part of something
bigger and feel a sense of support
and community when I come to work.”
–Sherika Lane, Seamstress
In the years since founding in 2012, Empowerment Plan has evolved from an idea in a college class into an internationally recognized workforce development organization. By pairing full time employment with a wide range of supportive services, we have helped dozens of individuals achieve financial stability and independence for the whole family. Our holistic approach addresses everything from housing and childcare to transportation, education and more.
The Empowerment Plan creates significant economic impact by serving as a stepping stone out of poverty into a state of stability. The core of our work stems from our intensive 2-year employment model focused on providing job readiness training and support services to our workforce.
It is because of this model and the strength of those we employ, that every single person has moved out of the shelter within the first 4-6 weeks of working with us and no one has returned to homelessness once we’ve hired them.