No matter who we are or where we come from, we all deserve to have a decent life. We deserve to feel strength and stability day after day. We deserve to know we have the power to take care of ourselves and build our own futures. At Habitat for Humanity, this is what unites us. Our shared vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Because you, me, we – we’re all humans. And every single one of us deserves the opportunity to build a better future.
THE NEED IN CHICAGO
Chicago has recently seen dramatic increases in cost-burdened renters and owners across every income group, reflecting a growing instability and housing insecurity in our city. This is a critical issue, as housing is essential to healthy families and communities. Research shows the value of quality, stable, affordable housing and demonstrates it is critical to driving positive outcomes in many aspects of people's lives: such as improving school performance, bettering financial outcomes, and enhancing the physical and mental health of both children and adults.
While it's incredibly important that individuals and families have a healthy and affordable home, we believe that it's equally important to holistically support entire communities. In Chicago, we know that neighborhoods are drivers of individual well-being, so we concentrate our work into specific neighborhoods to maximize our impact. Currently, we focus in the South Side neighborhoods of West Pullman and Greater Grand Crossing.
Our programs and services include:
AFFORDABLE HOMEOWNERSHIP. We partner with hard-working households who do not qualify for typical loans to become homeowners. Qualifying families meet three basic criteria: 1) demonstrate a need for decent housing (living in unsafe or overcrowded conditions or are severely rent-burdened); 2) are willing to partner in our program by completing 200+ volunteer hours and attending our free homebuyer readiness training classes; 3) have the ability to purchase their home with an affordable mortgage. Qualifying families enter the program as a cohort, designed to provide built-in support for navigating the process of homeownership as a first-time buyer. At the end of the program, members of the cohorts become neighbors in one of our focus neighborhoods, living in healthy and sustainable homes built by themselves, volunteers, and Habitat Chicago construction staff.
HOMEBUYER UNIVERSITY. Taught by real-estate and financial experts in a small-group setting, Homebuyer University is a brand new program that helps students work towards their goal of first-time homeownership. Classes are open for public enrollment and cover the ins and outs of budgeting for, buying, and maintaining a home. At the end of the educational program, individuals may opt to pursue the best homeownership option for their situation, be it a non-traditional loan through Habitat Chicago, a semi-traditional loan through a nonprofit lending partner, or a traditional loan through a bank or similar lender.
NEIGHBORHOOD GRANTS. Our Neighborhood Grants Initiative offers small grants to residents of our focus neighborhoods to bring a project to life that they’ve dreamt up to make a positive impact in their community. Projects can be physical (like murals and porch repairs) or social (like community gatherings and block parties).
HOME CARE EDUCATION. Another new program, Home Care is a series of hands-on classes designed to help individuals take care of and improve their homes. In addition to practical instruction, Home Care classes equip attendees with strategies for budgeting, project management, and deciding between DIY and professional services. Class topics rotate each quarter with needs common to housing in Chicago.
RESTORE CHICAGO. ReStore is a key component in the sustainability of our work - every purchase, donation, and volunteer hour breathes life into our mission. At ReStore, you can recycle your own home goods through donations, reuse someone else's items in your own home, and reduce the amount of waste in landfills. Profits from the ReStore are re-invested into our housing and neighborhood services.