Softer Streets - Softer Streets
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The Problem

Huddled in doorways and tucked into underpasses, tens of thousands of Americans sleep on bedding made of cardboard, plastic tarp and thin fabrics that offer little protection from the cold, hard concrete beneath. On a single night, more than 553,000 people are homeless across the United States. Some sleep in shelters, but almost 193,000 people do not. Hypothermia begins to set in at 50°F. In even the mildest U.S. cities, nighttime temperatures often plummet to below 20°F.  All over the country, the story is the same: Insufficient shelter space leaves people no other choice but to sleep outside, at the mercy of the elements.

The Solution

Softer Streets Inc. is providing durable, water-resistant, insulated, easily portable sleeping mats to people experiencing homelessness. We aim to supply every person who regularly sleeps on the streets with a high-quality, easily cleaned mat to provide insulation, reduce bug infestations, and help prevent chronic injuries from sleeping on cold, unyielding surfaces. This harm reduction strategy fills a critical gap between the shelter and the sidewalk.

THE TEAM

CNN journalist Amy La Porte began Softer Streets Inc. as a passion project to help those in her own downtown Atlanta neighborhood. An accomplished skier and high-mountain climber, Amy is no stranger to sleeping perched on snowy mountains, and knows the value of quality camping mats to counter the effects of hypothermia. In fact, experienced climbers and backcountry skiers live by the principle of convection: If they have only one item to use for warmth while sleeping, they put it on the ground rather than covering their body with it. This prevents the deadly drainage of heat away from the body by the cold ground.

In the winter of 2016, Amy began buying sleeping mats for the homeless. Months after handing out those original mats, she still sees them slung over the shoulders of people who are now sleeping a little easier.

Amy
Amy La Porte - President
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Amy is an Emmy-nominated lead writer, producer and reporter at CNN. She has created curriculae for CNN writers and reporters and has experience coordinating volunteers and leading teams of professionals. Before working for CNN, Amy was a television news anchor at one of Australia’s main broadcast networks based in the capital, Canberra. A lifelong skier and mountain-climber, Amy has slept and survived in extreme conditions in New Zealand Southern Alps, the European Alps, Himalayas, Andes and above the Arctic Circle. Due to her professional exposure, Amy has extensive experience hosting charity fundraisers, using her platform to raise awareness for a number of nonprofit organizations in the United States and overseas. Her field reporting experience gives her extensive understanding of project planning, logistics, safety, deadlines – and the ability to be flexible within all those guidelines. Having lived, worked or traveled in almost 50 countries, and having interviewed everyone from crime victims to national lawmakers, Amy has procured the ability to instantly relate and communicate with people from all cultures and walks of life.

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Nicole File - Vice President
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Nicole is a Senior Editor at CNN, responsible for “the last line of defense” for CNN’s on-air broadcasts. A four-time Peabody Award winner, Nicole has over 20 years’ experience crafting CNN’s breaking news and is a highly esteemed editorial trainer and mentor at the company’s world headquarters. Nicole has extensive experience in volunteering, fundraising, organizing and logistics in the nonprofit sector. An expert on human trafficking and slavery, she has coordinated nationally and internationally broadcast segments on those issues and has extensively researched risk factors including poverty and homelessness. She has conducted groundbreaking research into child sex trafficking, and has worked and gathered information on the ground in India, Guatemala and the U.S. She maintains relationships with philanthropists and nonprofits in multiple countries. Her experience gives her valuable expertise in building relationships with those traumatized by extreme stress or abuse, as well as an understanding of the holistic challenges many such people face. She was a leader in a campaign that raised $30 million in 100 days for Sweet Briar College, and organized medical and relief flights to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Her attention to detail, wide array of personal and professional contacts, and experience training and motivating people of diverse temperaments and talents will greatly enhance this position.

OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH KLYMIT

One of the world’s premier camping outfitters, Klymit, is partnering with us to bring their exceptional quality to our clients at a deeply-reduced price.

It was this shared vision that led Klymit’s engineers to begin developing a new mat specifically for Softer Streets Inc. This new mat will feature extra-rugged construction for an urban environment while maintaining Klymit’s superior portability, breathability and enhanced comfort and warmth.

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