Sheltersuit: upcycling materials to provide shelter for people living on the streets

Homeless person
Type of organisation or company
United States, South Africa
Language for original content
Project elaborated in partnership
Start/End date

The Sheltersuit Foundation has three goals: helping people in need, closing the gap in the labour market and reducing waste.

The foundation produces wind- and waterproof coats that can be transformed into a sleeping bag, with a team of 14 employees and 27 volunteers, many of whom are former refugees or homeless people.

It has three interlocking goals. Firstly, it provides immediate shelter for people in need who have to survive the harsh conditions on the streets by distributing the Sheltersuits free of charge. Secondly, it seeks to help people, particularly immigrants, become more financially and socially independent. Thirdly, it upcycles material and so reduces the amount of waste and encourages companies to become more circular: the Sheltersuits are lined with old sleeping bags that are donated or collected at festivals, while the outside of the suit is made of donated tent fabric that did not meet the high-quality control standards for commercial purposes but is still very suitable for the Sheltersuit.

Identified challenge (s)
Main results

Since starting in 2014 the foundation has:

  • upcycled 21 000 kg of materials
  • created 112 jobs
  • been able to keep over 6 000 people living on the streets or in refugee camps warm with a Sheltersuit.