A Blanket for the Streets

Walking down any major urban avenue there are numerous homeless men and women, often draped in old, soiled blankets or dingy sleeping bags. The ability to keep warm and dry is one of the top concerns of those who live on the streets, and are often two of the most elusive practicalities.

A young woman in Dublin, Ireland, has developed a new product for the homeless – one that could help them survive the cold, winter nights and is easier to keep clean and dry than wool blankets and sleeping bags. The rain and fire-proof covering provides a better barrier to the cold ground, is durable, can be wiped clean, and has velcro so a person can get in and out quickly. They roll up and are light to transport. Highly reflective, they look much like the thermal blankets one would take camping or get rescued in, just thicker.

In addition to saving lives by helping people stay warm and dry, the manufacturing of the covering is done by people who have struggled through homelessness. Earning $10 and hour in Dublin, they are now able to give back and earn a living.

While lots of solutions are focused on either immediate needs – food and water – or long-term solutions – like tiny houses – this young Irish-woman has improved the intermediary with insight and innovation.

In order to truly help and make a social impact, the entire continuum should be addressed and this development does just that. What other social issues could use some attention in the middle of the continuum?


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