February 2022

Humble Design


When you have to choose between feeding your family or buying furniture, what do you do?

Imagine a single mother with three young children. After escaping a harrowing abusive relationship, she is left without resources. She spends the next decade bouncing between friends’ couches, homeless shelters, and living in her car. She develops anxiety and depression and resorts to substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Her children are taken from her, and she hits rock bottom. But, through all of this, she does not give up. Determined and resilient, she strives to put the pieces of her life back together.

Against all odds, she seeks out and finds resources to help her to turn her life around. She enrolls in treatment programs and gets — and stays — sober. She finds mental health services and case management. She is reunited with her children and two-year-old granddaughter. Her social worker helps her to secure a condo where she can put a roof over her family’s heads.

But that house is empty; the family is sleeping on the floor; she has to choose between furniture and food.

Then, her case manager introduces her to Humble Design, and her life is changed for good.

Humble Design is a nonprofit interior design company serving families and veterans leaving homelessness. Humble’s professional designers take their clients’ empty houses and transform them into personalized homes using donated furniture and home goods. Humble Design’s services provide people leaving homelessness with security, dignity, and hope, and gives clients a firm foundation from which to rebuild the rest of their lives.

And it works. While nationwide nearly 50% of people who leave homelessness return to shelters or the streets within a year, 97% of Humble Design’s clients in San Diego remain in their homes.

Humble Design has been serving families and veterans here in San Diego since 2018; last year, their team furnished 67 client homes, changing the lives of 200 people, including 109 children and seven veterans.

Humble Design is powered by the generosity of the San Diego community. Their entire operation is funded through philanthropic support, and every piece they put in a client’s home has been donated. They rely on volunteers to help organize their 9,000-square-foot warehouse in Logan Heights crammed full of furniture and home goods, and to join their team each Thursday and Friday in transforming their clients’ homes and lives.

L’CHAIM was invited and happily participated in a recent “Deco Day” in service to this single mother, her three children, and her granddaughter. It incredible to help turn this family’s empty house into a beautifully designed, personalized home full of special touches selected specifically for this family. In one day, we were humbled and honored to help this deserving family to step into their bright and beautiful future.

In Humble Design’s own words, “Togetherness to end homelessness is so much more than a tagline. It is our promise to the community that we will bring together big hearts, bright minds, generous souls, and beautiful design in service to our neighbors emerging from homelessness.”

Humble Design, Inc. is a tax exempt 501 (C)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information, visit humbledesign.org/sandiego or call (619) 332-6357.


Heidi Gantwerk Federation President & CEO

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