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 for 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: nearly half of Chicago adults (48%) spend more than 30% of their income on housing. Which is much higher than the 31% of U.S. adults who pay such a high percentage of their income on housing.1
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 that it is critical to driving positive outcomes in many aspects of people's lives: such as improving school performance, decreasing crime, 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 and investments into specific neighborhoods to maximize our impact. Currently, we are at work, in partnership with local residents, 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 homebuyers meet three basic criteria: 1) demonstrate a need for affordable housing; 2) are willing to partner in our program; 3) have the ability to purchase their home with an affordable mortgage. After completing the application process, they enter the program as a cohort, designed to provide built-in support for navigating the process of homeownership as a first-time buyer. It can take 12-18 months to complete the Affordable Homeownership Program. 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 (like our Women Builders!), and Habitat construction staff.
HOMEBUYER UNIVERSITY - Habitat Chicago is invested in the vitality of housing markets as a source of welfare to its residents; a well-prepared homeowner investing in their neighborhood through homeownership, property taxes, local spending, and social capital, regardless of their lender, only improves that vitality. Our five-week program is designed to ready individuals for home purchase and homeownership. At the end of the 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 in our focus neighborhoods. Through this initiative, residents bring their improvement projects to life to make a positive impact in their community. Recipients have organized everything from physical projects like murals and porch repairs to social projects like community gatherings and block parties.