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Hope for a Home: A Day With Humble Design

 

Home. It's a place many of us take for granted and a spot whose meaning we don't always understand until our situation changes. It's hard to say exactly what defines a home besides four walls and a roof because of the complicated emotions we attached to this singular place. A big part of any home, however, is represented by love, comfort, fond memories, and security. And it's these feelings that the folks at Humble Design hope to restore as they furnish and recreate homes for families in need.

Founded eight years ago, the Humble Design team works with local social service agencies to identify families leaving homeless shelters and moving into housing. Escaping desperate situations, these families often have nothing but each other and a few sets of clothes when they move into their new homes. Humble Design* works to transform the cold, empty rooms in these houses and turn them into a welcoming, safe haven. 

Joining the Cause

We participated in a day of service to get an inside look at how the non-profit transforms homes and lives. Upon our arrival at the Humble Design warehouse in Pontiac, we stepped into a labyrinth of furniture, toys, bedding, toiletries, and art supplies. Even more overwhelming than the sheer amount of furniture was learning that everything in the warehouse cycles through about every three weeks. Most of us had no idea the need for a home was so prevalent.

Over 500,000 pounds of furniture are donated by local businesses and individuals every year. Each piece of furniture is then hand-selected by one of the designers at Humble Design to find a permanent place in the home of a family in need. 

Getting to Work

Our day with Humble Design meant that we had the opportunity to transform one of the 156 homes the non-profit furnishes each year. We packed our vehicles with furniture and artwork from the warehouse and went to a home in Detroit. Walking into the house, we faced bare walls and empty rooms. So we quickly set to work scrubbing, mopping, and arranging the furniture and artwork we brought. In a few hours' time, each room was tailored to the taste of the family to feel cozy and inviting.

Welcome Home

The arrival of the tenants, Rebecca and Tracy, brought tears of happiness and pure joy. Their smiles grew as they walked through each room and imagined how they could finally use each space to spend time with friends and family. This was most evident in the dining room where a table set for six was centered in the room. Finally, they could comfortably cook at home without having to sit on the floor to eat or rely on fast food for nourishment. 

"I'm so humbled and grateful for you guys" said Rebecca through tears. "I don't even know you but I love you from the bottom of my heart."

Once strangers, we were suddenly connected to each other. We didn't just place chairs and end tables in the house that day; we gave a family a space to comfortably connect over games, movies, family meals, and deep conversations.

Humble Design does so much more than simply furnish homes; they restore the human spirit. Half of the people who emerge from homeless shelters will one day end up back in a shelter. Of the families that Humble Design has helped, only one percent of people have gone back.

Who knew a used sofa could leave such a big impression.

 

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SEE ALSO: Doing Well By Doing Good: G2G Summit | Spreading the Love on Giving Tuesday

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