Photo by Nina Corcoran
Fresh off making history as the first unsigned artist to perform on Saturday Night Live, Chance the Rapper has announced a new initiative aimed at helping Chicago’s homeless this winter. The MC is partnering with Empowerment Plan, a Detroit-based company that makes coats for homeless people.
In an interview with WGCI in Chicago, Chance explained how Empowerment Plan works in Detroit and how he hopes to import the charity’s model to Chicago. “The coolest part of this two-part plan is that they only hire homeless women to work in the factories to make these coats and pay them above minimum wage to do it,” he said. “It’s a long-term plan to help out with homeless people in Detroit.”
Chance will partner with Empowerment Plan for a project called Warmest Winter, which seeks to bring 1,000 coats to Chicago’s homeless population this winter. And these aren’t just any coats. “It’s a very insulated coat,” explained Chance, “but the cool thing about it is that at nighttime, the back hatch of the coat flips out and turns into a sleeping bag.”
WIth more than 125,000 homeless people living in Chicago right now, the initiative targets one of the city’s most endemic problems. The need for warm clothing is obviously urgent this time of year. “Chicago has one of the coldest winters in America,” Chance explained, “and a lot of people die of hypothermia and coldness-related illnesses.”
Warmest Winter currently has a fundraising goal of $100,000, which Chance hopes to surpass by the deadline of January 6th. “You can go to ChanceRaps.com and donate anything,” he said. “There’s prizes, but beyond the prizes, I don’t want to tell you about the perks. I just want to tell you we can save a whole lot of lives this winter — and next winter — if we empower Chicago.”
Chance has an even bigger goal in sight. “If we can prove to these folks at Empowerment Plan that we can do this,” he said, “we’re gonna get our own factory here.”