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A secret weapon in fighting homelessness? Interior designers. Really.

Humble Designs is about so much more than good aesthetics.

A secret weapon in fighting homelessness? Interior designers. Really.

When Temia McGuire lost her job, she also ended up losing her home.

As difficult as it was personally for the Michigan mom, she didn't focus on herself. Her main priority was her children.

"I think I was just worried about the kids, how they felt," she says.


McGuire is from Detroit, a Rust Belt city wrestling with stubbornly high rates of poverty and unemployment. Last year, a report identified more than 2,700 people as homeless, living either on the streets or in shelters.

McGuire's story isn't all that rare in the Motor City.

One of the biggest challenges facing families transitioning out of shelters and into homes of their own is the cost of furnishing them.

That's where Humble Design, a Detroit-based nonprofit that uses donated home furnishings to create warm environments and a sense of normalcy for families in those situations, comes in.

Because, as it turns out, when you're homeless, a sofa can be so much more than just a sofa.


“The reality is, when we walk into these homes, they are empty," Treger Strasberg, the group's founder, explained in a video by Ford. "No beds, no sofas, nowhere to eat, nothing.”

Strasberg works with her clients to get a good sense of what they want and need out of a home, and she takes it from there.

When McGuire finally got back on her feet, Humble Design was there to make sure her new house felt like a home.

The personal touches Humble Design provided made a world of difference to McGuire and her kids.

“Home is where the heart is," she told Upworthy. "And this is definitely a home now. It’s not just a house.”

Humble Design always provides these families something very special that many of us take for granted: beds.

"The first thing that [kids helped by Humble Design] do in the middle of the afternoon is get into their bed — every single time," Strasberg said. "These children, the most important thing to them, is getting into their bed. Think about that when you get into your bed tonight."

Colorful decor and kitchen aesthetics might not seem that vital in helping the homeless get back on the right track. But they are.

The proof is in the pudding. A mere 1% of the families that have received help from Humble Designs fall back into homelessness within a year, according to Strasberg. That's compared to 50% for families that don't receive help.

“It’s not just furniture," Strasberg explained. "It’s love, it’s pride, it’s dignity. And those things need to be restored for these families.”


Humble Design's reach has expanded dramatically. When the group formed in 2009, it was helping about one household every six weeks. Today, it helps about three homes a week, and so far has helped more than 600 families transition back into normalcy after living in shelters.

To Strasberg, Humble Design isn't just about throw pillows and paint swatches — it's about laying the groundwork for families to succeed.

"These are people who are struggling and they really just need a little bit of help," she said. "What we do is make sure they have a strong, secure base from which to build on. And that includes a safe, warm, and comfortable home.”

“Detroit is made up of all these little families that make the city what it is, and make it great. And we’re helping those little families one at a time.”

Check out the Upworthy original video about Humble Design:

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

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A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

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Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

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