Humble Design, U-Haul Charity Partner, Expands Mission amid COVID-19

Apr 3, 2020

A U-Haul®-sponsored national nonprofit isn’t letting the COVID-19 crisis quarantine its desire to help those in need.

Humble Design®, founded in 2009 in Detroit, has been helping families and veterans escape the cycle of homelessness for 11 years. But the charity’s mission is shifting while precautionary measures limit normal operations.

Typically, Humble Design coordinates with local shelters to identify candidates emerging from homelessness, and then provides volunteer designers and furnishings donated by the community to turn their empty houses into clean, dignified and welcoming homes.

Temporarily unable to proceed with furnishing individual homes, Humble Design’s new mission is to assist the shelters directly by delivering much-needed warehouse goods at a time when these safe havens are overrun.

“We have begun distributing our blankets, sheets, books, toys, cleaning supplies, kitchen and bathroom items, as well as anything else the shelters can use from our warehouses,” Humble Design founder Treger Strasberg said. “Our shelter partners need our help now to create more livable conditions for children and families fleeing unhealthy situations.”

Mission expansion efforts are being made in all four markets Humble Design serves: Detroit, Chicago, Seattle and San Diego. Humble Design is thankful for its supporters, including U-Haul, which has served as its national sponsor since 2016.

Visitors to are greeted with the message: “If you are a partnering shelter or agency and you need items from our warehouse – please reach out. While our warehouses are closed for drop-offs, our hearts are open and we are WORKING. We will be working to provide additional resources to help our shelter partners who might be impacted during this challenging time.”

How You Can Help

Humble Design knows its compassionate followers will want to support this initiative to benefit shelter partners – while still sheltering in place themselves. The solution: a “Pajama Potluck” online auction with lots of fun and enticing items.

An auction site is already active for supporters to donate and buy gifts. The proceeds will go directly to Humble Design’s expanded mission during the COVID-19 crisis.

Auction categories include: artwork, clothing and accessories, electronics, experiences, gift cards, professional services, sports memorabilia, travel, items under $20, and virtual meet-ups with celebrities. Gift donations and buyers are needed. Please click on the links below to participate:

Local Impact in Detroit

The Department of Health and Human Services Detroit set up an isolation shelter for those who have tested positive for COVID-19, but do not require hospitalization. They reached out to Humble Design for needed supplies. That call was answered.

A U-Haul® van filled with pillows, bedsheets, a TV, a microwave, a new coffeemaker and mugs, towels and washcloths, blanket throws, books, games and puzzles, and some comfortable chairs were delivered.

Local Impact in Chicago

On March 30, Humble Design made a delivery to aid Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC). The shelter is operating with 35 beds to follow COVID-19 isolation guidelines, but remains in need of donations – most notably kitchen supplies.

The delivery included: place settings for 45; a toaster; two coffeemakers; cups and bowls; platters, pots and pans; baking sheets; more than 25 sets of bath towels, washcloths and hand towels; 35 sets of pillows and twin sheet sets with pillow cases and comforters; and an array of vases and floral decorations for bedroom spaces.

Humble Design has also made deliveries to A Safe Haven Foundation, Amani House, Heartland Alliance, Inspiration Corporation and Olive Branch Mission.

“We realize that during this unusual time, the needs of the communities we serve don’t stop,” said Julie Dickinson, director of Humble Design Chicago. “If we can help while keeping our staff and those we serve safe, we are going to do it.”

Local Impact in Seattle

In February, just before the virus’s impact was truly felt, U-Haul® shipped three U-Box portable storage containers filled with pillows and bed frames from Humble Design’s Chicago warehouse to its Seattle warehouse. Humble Design Seattle used those items to help furnish 16 units in Mercy Housing’s new Gardner House and Allen Family Center, a permanent affordable and supportive housing community.

Local Impact in San Diego

East County Transitional Living Center provides transitional housing for 400 people in 100 units. Job limitations caused by the COVID-19 outbreak have created hardships for tenants and ECTLC. Humble Design answered the call for help by delivering pillows, bedsheets, toys, games, books and more.

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