Humble Design Helps Recently Homeless

Posted On November 01, 2017

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Humble Design is a non-profit organization that helps recently homeless families rebuild their new homes through furnishings and design services.  Since 2009, Humble Design has served 832 families throughout the greater Chicago and Detroit area.  Humble Design’s mission is to give recently homeless people a sense of pride and ownership as they transition out of homeless shelters and into new living situations. 

The Humble Design team volunteers their interior design services to revamp living spaces of the recently homeless.  By converting blank walls into familiar canvases, Humble Design’s cofounders believe they can reduce the risk of succumbing to homelessness again.  Humble Design cofounder and co-CEO Treger Strasberg explains, “this has always been more of a dignity program than a housing program.  We don’t ask questions like what’s your social security number or what subsidies are you on?  We ask, ‘What are your dreams?’ ‘What do your children like?’” 

Michigan’s Department of Housing and Urban Development reports 47 percent of homeless people who exit homelessness, will return to it within several years.  Out of the 800+ families served, Humble Design reports only 1 percent have returned to homelessness, marking a 99% success rate.  Since the 1980s, a “Housing First” strategy has been used to reduce homelessness.  Housing First means that by satisfying the need for housing, homeless people will have a stronger chance of overcoming other issues like addiction, joblessness, and destructive patterns.  National homelessness has decreased by 32 percent from 2015 to 2007. 

Humble Design takes Housing First a step further by transforming houses into homes.  Strasberg said, “when people are really listened to, it creates an immediate focus on the future.  When they have a place that feels like home, they want to protect it.  They start to believe they can get a better job and build for the long-term and they go for it.”    

To learn more about Humble Design, visit their website


Sources: Fast Company, Humble Design