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Innovations That Are Helping the Homeless

Man wearing an EMPWR coat

As cities grow, people cannot keep up with the rising cost of living and are often forced onto the streets. Fortunately, there are individuals who are creating innovations that help the homeless.
The EMPWR Coat

The Empowerment Plan is an initiative based in Detroit that fights to end the cycle of homelessness while empowering single parents in local shelters by training and employing them as seamstresses or tailors. These individuals then manufacture the EMPWR coats, which can be used as coats, overnight sleeping bags, and large over-the-shoulder bags. Since 2012, they have employed over 50 individuals who now have permanent residences and have distributed over 25,000 coats to underprivileged people around the world. This nonprofit is sustained with donations from individuals and private corporations—it costs $125 to sponsor a coat for a person in need.

Lava Mae

Lava Mae is a San-Francisco based project centered around restoring dignity to the local homeless population by offering them a place to get clean and practice proper hygiene. CEO Doniece Sandoval received KIND Foundation’s $500,000 grand prize for improving the community through kindness and hospitality. She’s since expanded her services to Los Angeles and Oakland by repurposing even more transportation buses into showers and toilets to serve her community. She’s served over 15,000 people and plans to foster even more positive change by allowing the world’s forgotten homeless population to look and feel their best.

The WeatherHyde Tent

This reversible tent created by billionBricks is designed to withstand all extreme weather conditions, providing cooling relief in the sweltering summer and life-saving heat during the winter. A nonprofit, billionBricks is dedicated to solving the global housing epidemic. There are many ways you can donate to the cause. As a HYDEdonor, you can gift a weatherHYDE for one person or a whole family. As a HYDEraiser, you fundraise for the global community—or even your local community—using their DIY fundraising toolkit. There are many more ways you can help, so click on their website to find out how you can contribute to their movement.


This Samaritan App puts people in direct contact with homeless people throughout shelters in Seattle. As a Samaritan, the app on your phone can notify you when someone is nearby. It will also provide information about them and their needs, so you can help them with appropriate donations. People experiencing homelessness can use the donations at certain partnered grocery stores or through a counselor for things like food, haircuts, clothes, and transportation. The goal of GiveSafe is to remove barriers from giving, such as not having cash or change on hand.

You don’t need to create an app or other innovations that help the homeless to make a difference in your local community. After reading this article, you may be inspired to give some of your lightly used articles of clothing to a nonprofit organization. Green Drop donates the clothes they receive to charitable programs that then redistribute them to people in need.

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