Habitat partners with Chicagoans who do not qualify for typical loans to become first-time homeowners. Qualifying households meet three basic criteria: 
  • 1) Demonstrate a need for affordable housing (currently living in unsafe or overcrowded conditions or are severely rent-burdened).
  • 2) Are willing to partner in our program by completing a minimum of 200 volunteer hours, attending our free homeowner education classes, AND maintaining open and honest communication with the Habitat Chicago team.
  • 3) Have the ability to purchase their home with an affordable mortgage.

Households enter the program as a cohort, designed to provide built-in support for navigating the process of homeownership as a first-time buyer. It takes about 12-18 months for cohorts to complete the program. At the end of it all, homebuyers become neighbors in one of our focus neighborhoods, living in healthy and sustainable homes built by themselves, volunteers (like our Women Builders!), and Habitat Chicago construction staff.

Meet a few of our current homebuyers:


Aida is a lifelong learner. This mother of four spends most of her time working as a teacher’s assistant, sharing her love of learning with students. She is working towards becoming a certified Special Education teacher, but when she finds time for herself, she’ll be lost in book.

And the learning continues as she works towards becoming a homeowner. Being able to have the freedom and peace that comes with owning a home is something she is most looking forward to. With their own home, her family will have the space to enjoy their many hobbies, express themselves through home décor, and create many more wonderful memories together.

“Homeownership is powerful. I want to provide a home for my family, a place that is safe and that belongs to us. Homeownership [will] help me and [my] family build a future that is stable.”  



Dominique’s world revolves around her daughter. When she isn’t working, she makes sure her daughter is well taken care of and likes to take her to the arcade to play games.

When Dominique had the opportunity to become a Habitat homeowner, she did not want to pass it up. A Habitat Chicago home will provide the space and stability that Dominique has always wanted for her daughter. She cannot wait to learn the process of how a home is built from start to finish and meet new people through the program, especially her fellow homebuyers and soon-to-be neighbors.

“[I became a Habitat homebuyer] to be able to own a backyard, give my daughter a safe space to play, and give her the opportunity to grow up in a home that she will own when she's older.”  



Humu is always thinking of others. Working as a Special Education Classroom Assistant, she is very interested in using her talents to get the right resources to the right people.

Humu is joining the Affordable Homeownership Program for her two daughters. While the road towards homeownership is a little intimidating, Humu is more than determined to reach her goal to provide a safe and secure place for her family.

“I want to buy a home so that I can leave something behind for my children. I also want a safe place for my children and me to live. I want them to be free to go outside and play in a safe environment."



To Egi, family is everything. They cherish their time spent together, especially when it involves singing.

Egi and her husband, Mweniake, are looking forward to providing stable and secure housing for their five children. They have been working consistently and thoughtfully to provide financial stability and the best life possible for their family.

“Without Habitat, I don't think I would have ever been able to reach this milestone in my life as a new immigrant to the US with low-income... [Owning a home] will also guarantee that no matter what happens to me, my family will have a place to call home."



Growth is an ongoing theme of Janice’s life. When she’s not working as an Appeals Clerk, she’s watching her plants grow healthy and strong or expanding her mind at one of the many renowned Chicago museums.

Now, Janice embarks on a new journey of growth as a homebuyer with Habitat Chicago. She is most excited to have a peaceful space for her and her daughter to call their own. That, and to have her own yard to grow more plants!

“[This house] will be a place to call my own and put down roots.”



Monique is a Pre-K teacher’s assistant who loves to work with her hands and flex her creative muscles. Recently, she rediscovered her love for sewing and crafts, but her next project is a little bigger: helping build her own home.

Monique is especially excited to learn about the process of home construction with the Habitat Chicago construction team and customize her home to match her personality.

“I want to be a homeowner because I want to have something that I can show ownership over and that I can design and put my style on. A home that I will cherish and feel proud that I accomplished something that I can pass down to family.”



In one word, Toni is ambitious. She is a full-time medical assistant and full-time mom, yet she still finds the time to go back to school to advance her career. When she had the opportunity to become a Habitat Chicago homebuyer, Toni focused on achieving yet another goal.

Toni is ready to own her own home and experience the journey along the way. Though she's both nervous and excited about the process, nothing will stop her from crossing this finish line.

“I want to become a homeowner because that is something that I [will accomplish]. Owning my home will be something that I can call my own and someday leave to my kids.”