Nonprofit helps Detroit's sizable homeless population by providing jobs, chance to give back

A 25-year-old former design student is trying to help those who have no place to live in two ways: offering warmth for the short term and employment for the longer.

Veronika Scott's brainchild led to a nonprofit that employs and trains homeless women in Detroit to manufacture a garment that serves as both a coat and a sleeping bag. The items then are distributed to homeless people across the city, the region and beyond.

The Empowerment Plan nonprofit employs as full-time seamstresses more than a dozen women Scott met at shelters.

Arnetta Smith has made the coats for several years. As a result, the 38-year-old no longer lives in a shelter or relies on state assistance. Smith says the Empowerment Plan is more like a family than a job.