Detroit Regional Chamber > Empowering Transformational Change, #SpreadTheWarmth This Winter

Empowering Transformational Change, #SpreadTheWarmth This Winter

December 17, 2020
More than 10,000 Michiganders experience homelessness on a given night, and COVID-19 is exacerbating the challenges many people who are already struggling face. During winter months, poverty and homeless can be life-threatening. For the Detroit-based nonprofit, The Empowerment Plan, providing support for the homeless is personal. That is because all the employees at the eight-year-old organization not only serve the homeless population of Southeast Michigan but they have also experienced homelessness themselves.

By pairing employment and direct supportive services, The Empowerment Plan truly embodies an ethos of purpose and hope. While the most visible impact is the EMPRW coat, for employees like DeAsia Taylor, the opportunity for meaningful work is transformational. DeAsia is a Seamstress at The Empowerment Plan, and she recently shared some of her experiences with the Detroit Regional Chamber.

(Detroit Regional Chamber) How has The Empowerment Plan made a difference in your life?

(DeAsia Taylor) The Empowerment Plan has helped me learn a lot about adulthood and that even when you are at your mental, physical, and emotional lowest point, some people will always be there to help.

(DRC) What new skills have you gained?

(DT) I’ve learned how to sew and operate a sewing machine. I’ve also learned how to talk to people better and understand others’ emotions. 

(DRC) What do you want to do next?

(DT) I want to get a job as an administrative specialist at a doctor’s office or a regular business.

(DRC) How will you use this experience and give back to others?

(DT) I would try to befriend people that are going through the same things I’m struggling with. Sometimes people need someone to talk to and give them advice. And I’ll continue volunteering at food pantries and soup kitchens. 

DeAsia’s desire to give back is the perfect demonstration of The Empowerment Plan’s hope to break the generational cycle of homelessness and poverty. Employees devote about 60% of their paid 40-hour workweek to coat production, while the remaining 40% is spent on programming and supportive services to help prepare them for future opportunities. This model works. According to the Empowerment Plan’s website, “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.”

As your company considers giving back or launching an internal giving campaign during the 2020 holiday season, the Chamber would like to invite you to participate in the Chamber’s #SpreadTheWarmth campaign to support The Empowerment Plan.