San Diego

Decorating Homes and Transforming Lives for Free

A new South Bay company is turning donations into entire homes for families who were once homeless.

For the past month, Humble Design has been stocking lightly-used goods donated by people throughout San Diego County.

“We have books, we get books donated, we get TVs and electronics donated for us,” Humble Designed operation manager Manny Moreno said. “We have kitchen stuff, we have toys, we have picture frames.”

It’s the kind of stuff that most people take for granted but it’s stuff that Humble Design uses to furnish homes for people taking another step out of homelessness.

“We have décor for walls, art for restrooms, plants, coffee makers, even functional things like kitchen appliances,” Moreno said.

Humble Design picks up donations twice a week and designers then work with clients to choose what fits them best.

“If we’re able to help one more family, that’s great,” said Joe Brennan, a designer for Humble Design. “If we’re able to help thousands more families, it’s amazing.”

And the families get to keep it, free and forever.

“it’s overwhelming the emotion that can happen,” Rob Strasberg said. He is the co-CEO of Humble Design. 

The company has created homes for almost a thousand families in four cities, including San Diego.

“I got the chills just thinking about it,” Moreno said.

The chills happen when the once-homeless family gets more than a roof over their head. But it’s the stuff all of us take for granted that hits him the most.

“When these kids walk in the room for the first time, they don’t even second look at the toys,” he said.  “They go straight for their bed.”

Brennan agrees.

“I’ve never been excited for a bed before in my entire life,” he said. “I’ve been excited for toys or games but to see a little kid excited for a piece of furniture, it gets really emotional.”

It’s the little things that add to one big thing — restoring someone’s dignity.

“Sometimes they break down crying,” Strasberg said. “Sometimes they’re overjoyed and start screaming but every single time is as much as we’re giving them, they give so much to us because it feels so good to help.”

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