There's a story behind every face
“The stereotypical image of homelessness, is a man with substance abuse problems, mental health issues, or both. But in the current economic climate, the face of homelessness also includes women, families, and the elderly, often people who are simply down on their luck. There's a story behind every face, and it could be my story. It could be your story. People who are experiencing homelessness are our neighbors.” -By Lindsey Wahowiak
Every human being deserves warmth, protection and dignity. It’s as simple as that. Yet, in the United States on a single night during 2018, 182,000 people were forced to sleep outside and left vulnerable to the harsh elements.
Photo Sheltersuit: Sheltersuits handed out to homeless people in New York.
Homelessness is on the rise and especially with the costs of housing skyrocketing, some are just one paycheck away from becoming homeless. Many cities have focused funds on providing temporary housing to those in need, but overcrowding is a huge issue that leaves many feeling unsafe, and without privacy.
Our ultimate mission is to end homelessness, but we also understand this will not happen overnight. So we want to offer our solution to protect those in need right now.
We produce the Sheltersuit a wind- and waterproof coat that can be transformed into a sleeping bag. It is a product designed for people in need that, for whatever reason, have to survive the harsh conditions that come with living on the streets. The Sheltersuit is free of charge to people experiencing homelessness.
How the Sheltersuit Foundation came to be
In 2014, after losing the father of a friend to hypothermia, that was due to not being able to protect himself against the cold weather conditions while living on the street, Bas Timmer decided that something had to be done. At the time Bas had started his own line of clothing after finishing at the fashion academy. But it didn’t feel right to him to sell fashionable clothing at a high price, whilst many people couldn’t even afford warm and protective clothing to simply survive. No one deserves the horrible fate of freezing to death because they can’t afford decent protective clothing. Because of this, Bas was motivated to make a change and ultimately developed his first Sheltersuit.
Since then, Sheltersuit has produced over 10,000 suits and donated 6,000 to those in need all over Europe.
During his stay in New York, Bas handed out 100 Sheltersuits to the homeless in and around the big city. When travelling through the United States, Bas was confronted with the crisis of people experiencing homelessness daily.
Bas: “I have met so many homeless my age. There was this one guy called Richard, unexpectedly lost his job as a chef… couldn't pay his rent anymore, he looked for something more affordable.. but due to New York City's shortage of affordable housing reaching crisis point, he became homeless.
“I have met so many homeless my age."
Bas Timmer - Founder of Sheltersuit
Each city visited, he connected with locals who had the same motivation to protect their homeless community. Bas: “I always felt the urge to set up multiple Sheltersuit factories, so when I met this amazing group of entrepreneurs that are situated in New York that felt inspired by what we do in the Netherlands, we took charge and decided it would be the right move to expand to NYC.”
At the end of the day, we stand for making people, who are at risk, more financially and socially independent. This enables them to build a better future. Aside from their personal development, they contribute to a better world by fabricating Sheltersuits for the homeless and refugees. Every suit is made with upcycled materials and are lined with old sleeping bags that are donated and collected at festivals. The outside of the suit is made out of tent fabric donated by the company TenCate Outdoor Fabrics. By repurposing these fabrics we contribute to the reduction of waste streams and stimulate environmental awareness.
We believe in creating products purely for the benefit of those in need, reducing waste streams for a more sustainable future and providing opportunities for individuals that are at risk. These three pillars are the foundation to our mission at Sheltersuit, and we will make sure that each city that we expand to will always have these in mind.
Join the movement
Help us raise $1M to help 3,000 homeless individuals