Pontiac nonprofit celebrates furnishing 1,000th home for needy family

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

A Pontiac-based nonprofit that helps furnish homes for families that have faced homelessness unveiled its 1,000th house Wednesday, a Detroit house for a mother of two.

Humble Design furnished a home for Jamiliah Powers-McCoy, 43, her 12-year-old son Jai'Vonte and 7-year-old daughter Ja'Kayla  that Powers-McCoy recently bought on the city's east side side. Her previous home, a rental, went into foreclosure after the owner didn't make payments on it.

"During our initial interview with the family, the kids were sleeping on mattresses that (Jamiliah) bought them for Christmas," said Shelly Watts, Humble's chief development officer. "However, she was still sleeping on the floor and there was next to nothing in the house."

Now living in a home furnished by Humble and its volunteers, "we are so excited for Jamiliah and her family," said Watts.

The landmark 1,000th home comes 10 years after Humble Design got its start. Founded in 2009 by Treger Strasberg, who started Humble after she helped a friend furnish her home, it now has locations in Chicago, Seattle and San Diego. Its headquarters remain in Pontiac.

Humble has been featured on the "Today" show and has a show on the CW network that debuted last year called "Welcome Home."

For Powers-McCoy, her family's new furnishings, tailored for each family member's personality, arrived just days after she got the deed to her home. She secured a loan from the United Community Housing Coalition and bought the house from the city of Detroit.  

Powers-McCoy's 2-year-old daughter died nine years ago,and she struggled after the last home she rented went into foreclosure.

Now, "she is in the process of getting her GED and aspires to go to nursing school," said Watts.

Watts said Humble helps create dignified spaces for families.

After furnishing so many homes, "we oftentimes run into the children we helped in years past," said Watts. "They tell us about how transformational it was to receive Humble Design's services."