I am sitting with Lenda on a red couch in her newly decorated apartment. Brandon and Jordan (4 year old twins) are playing with their new train set and Estrella, the dog, has found a fragment of cookie that was dropped. Joseph and Elijah (8 and 9 years old, respectively) are in their room deciding who gets the top bunk. Lenda and her four sons just had their apartment redecorated by Humble Design. Humble Design is a non-profit organization that helps families transition out of homeless shelters by providing furnishings and design services. They create welcoming homes that can change a family’s future.

Lenda and her boys previously lived in La Posada Interim Housing, a program that provides temporary housing for families experiencing homelessness. They were connected to Inspiration Corporation’s Housing Services program through Chicago Public Schools. Inspiration Corporation’s Housing Services staff submitted an application to Humble Design on Lenda’s behalf.

After seeing her newly decorated home, Lenda said, “I feel like a weight got lifted from my shoulders.” She shared that the boys never really had a place to play before. Having this space allows them to be a family and the boys to be kids. The most emotional aspect of the reveal was the presence of pictures Humble Design got from Lenda and then framed to display in her new apartment. Lenda said, “What really got me was seeing the pictures. I never had pictures of my family in frames in my house. I was always ready to move.”

This dependable and affordable housing is a game changer for Lenda. She said, “I never had this kind of help—it’s overwhelming for me.” Humble Designs asked Lenda about her tastes and consulted her about her sons’ favorite things. They ended up with race car, and sports themed rooms. “This is how I would have wanted my house, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it alone,” Lenda shared. Her mother, Aleida said, “This is a blessing. (Lenda) has been through a lot. She deserves this and more. Now she has to keep it up, but I believe she can.”

At the end of the interview, I asked Lenda what she was going to do first. She said that she was going feed the boys, and then go to her room. She definitely deserves some rest.