As the Windy City trudges through the winter, Chicago’s homeless will be better able to withstand the cold this year. Chicago MC and activist Chance The Rapper has raised $113,601 to provide special coats for the city’s displaced inhabitants. With the money raised, 1,136 self-heating, water-resistant coats will be made. These unique jackets transform into sleeping bags and can be carried over the shoulder for ease of transport when not in use. The EMPWR coats are manufactured by The Empowerment Plan, a non-profit organization based in Detroit that creates the coats specifically for the homeless and employees the homeless as seamstresses to help make them. Detroit resident Veronica Scott launched the nonprofit, which started as a class project, in 2013.
The funds raised by Chance The Rapper were for the Warmest Winter Initiative, a joint campaign between the rapper and The Empowerment Plan.
The EMPWR coat is made of upcycled automotive insulation, fabric from Carhartt, the work wear and protective clothing manufacturer, and other donated materials.
According to the Warmest Winter website, 1,000 coats can be produced on a budget of $100,000. The website details statistics about the impact the coats will have on the lives of the homeless. “Our studies show that for each 1,000 coats distributed, we can save 14 lives. Each year approximately 7% of homeless individuals die from hypothermia. Our coat reduces this statistic by over 20%,” the site reads.
Each coat costs $100 to make. That price includes labor, materials and overhead.
On January 8, Chance The Rapper announced that more than $100,000 had been donated for the Warmest Winter initiative, which began December 16, 2015, and ended on January 13.
The efforts of Chance The Rapper and the Empowerment Plan will ensure that many without shelter in Chicago will still keep warm even during the coldest time of year.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) January 8, 2016