the Homeless: A Coat of Many Uses

A Coat of Many Uses

Each semester, students at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science develop products to help people with special needs. In years past they have stuffed caterpillars for children with cerebral palsy to heighten their sense of touch. But the school's latest project may represent the ultimate combination of altruism and design: an overcoat for homeless people that can double as a sleeping bag.

Known as a Shelter-Pak, the hooded, full-length garment is covered with rip- proof nylon on one side and heavy wool on the other. Depending on how it's folded, it can convert from nighttime bedroll to daytime parka or...