There is good news on the horizon for homeless families and veterans in San Diego. Humble Design is coming to town. Humble Design has been furnishing homes for the recently homeless with donated furnishings and home goods since 2009. Founded in Detroit by San Diego native Treger Strasberg and her husband Rob, the organization has helped over 5,000 individuals succeed after leaving a homeless or abuse shelter. According to HUD’s national statistics almost 50% of individuals leaving a shelter will return in within 1 year. With Humble Design’s help, that number reduces to a staggering 1%. Why such amazing results?
“We are not a furniture program, we are a dignity program,” says Treger. Beyond just furnishings, Treger tells Giving Back Magazine their secret is in the attention paid to the family’s personal taste. “Every client we work with is unique and we design their home to reflect their individuality. If the mom loves green and her son is wild about superheroes, that is how our designers select gently used items from our warehouses.”
Treger says that her organization’s makeovers do not just transform her clients’ homes, but change their mind-set as well. “When people are listened to, it creates an immediate focus on the future,” says Treger. “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.”
“This personal touch to wrap-around services is a much different approach than the national norm,” adds Rob.
“We are fulfilling a gap in the homeless to housing equation. It is too much to ask a case worker to not only find their client a home but to then figure out how to furnish it. And imagine if you have been homeless for a year or two and are lucky enough to get donated furniture, how are you going to get it to your new place - on a bus? Humble Design is basically a logistics company. We just run on love, and donations!”
In 2015 Humble’s innovative idea caught the eye and the heart of U-Haul. They gifted the organization a truck and a relationship began. A year later they opened in Chicago with U-Haul donating the warehouse space. This spring Humble will be starting up in Seattle using trucks from U-Haul and warehouse space from the city. Since Rob and Treger moved to San Diego in July, they have met with many leaders who are looking for new ideas to tackle the homeless issues here. Those in the know agree Humble Design is a missing component in San Diego to help get the recently homeless back on the path to success. In Chicago, Crate and Barrel sponsored their first year; in Seattle it was Microsoft employees who raised the initial funds and now they are looking for partners here. Is it you?