Giva Salutes: Humble Design

Humble Design

At Giva we search for organizations, large and small, that are doing a great job of changing the world around them for the better; and we are pleased to salute them here!

For families coming out of homeless and abuse shelters, finding a house is only the first step to restoring a sense of normalcy. After all, it isn't four walls and a roof that make a place a home. As Humble Design co-founder Treger Strasberg says, "Home is where your family is, and where you're comfortable, and where you can rest... and rebuild."

In 2008, Strasberg moved to Michigan and immediately felt a strong connection to Detroit and an urge to help her community. Around the same time, Ana Smith also moved to Michigan and was shocked by the quantities of furniture and household goods that were being left on the curb in her neighborhood. She knew she wanted to do something that combined her passion for helping single moms, sustaining the environment, and doing thrifty home design.

In the summer of 2009, Smith and Strasberg came together to found Humble Design, a Detroit-based non-profit organization that furnishes homes for families coming out of homelessness, helping them to regain a sense of dignity and focus their time, effort, and resources rebuilding other aspects of their lives.

Local shelters refer families to Humble Design, whose designers then meet with the families to perform a needs assessment. Then the designers go to the organization's warehouse, stocked with donations, to select and customize furnishings, toys, accessories and housewares that they think will be right for the families. The team moves everything into the homes and cleans them so that the families can officially move in.

As of May, 2016 Humble Design has serviced 627 families, 99% of which do not return to homelessness. There are over 30,000 homeless in the Detroit Metro area, but Humble Design is working to keep people off the streets by assisting three families per week.

Those living near the Detroit metropolitan area and interested in helping out can drop off gently used items at the Humble Design warehouse. The organization also welcomes volunteers interested in decorating the houses, organizing the warehouse, or running school and neighborhood drives. On October 1, 2016 Humble Design will host Gigs for Digs, a benefit concert with American indie-pop band JR JR at The Fillmore Detroit. Tickets for the concert go on sale on July 1.

Those who live further away can donate money to sponsor a family or pick a room for which to purchase themed items. Humble Design also has an Amazon registry for those who may wish to purchase items on behalf of the organization.

Humble Design believes that furniture is not simply an object, but a means through which love and pride can be restored to families.