FAQs

What is Habitat for Humanity Chicago? What do you do? 

Habitat for Humanity Chicago is a nonprofit working locally to build a Chicago where every resident has a decent place to live. We take a geographically-focused approach to development, working alongside partners and residents to address the whole picture, concentrating investments into defined areas for maximum impact.


Why does your work matter? 

1 in 10 people currently face critical housing needs in Chicago - an urgent challenge as research shows housing is at the core of healthy, vibrant families & communities. Affordable, stable, decent housing improves school performance, decreases crime, and enhances the mental and physical health of children and adults. Learn more here.


Do you only build new homes? 

No. Habitat Chicago offers and supports an array of services designed to improve quality of life for residents of our focus neighborhoods. These include block beautification and pride projects, community action facilitation and support, homebuyer readiness training, homeowner support services, home weatherization projects, and more. To learn more, visit our programs and services page


Are Habitat Chicago homes given away? 

No. Habitat Chicago homeowners purchase their homes with an affordable mortgage, invest at least 250 volunteer hours on the construction site building their and their neighbors’ homes, and enroll in homeownership preparation courses. To learn more, visit our affordable homeownership page


Why do you ask for a donation when our time is valuable as well?

We agree that volunteering is very important; however, we are a grass-roots organization that is responsible for raising all of our own funds. Many people believe that all of our materials are donated and that we receive our funding through Habitat for Humanity International and the government. This isn’t the case. The vast majority of our funding comes from the generosity of individuals and organizations within our local Chicago community. Therefore, we ask volunteers to join fully in our efforts by becoming financial supporters of our mission.


Chicago is so big! Why do you only focus in certain neighborhoods? 

While many local Habitat organizations do “scattered site” building, which places families in homes wherever there is availability, this approach does not work well for Chicago. Because neighborhood environments in our city are drivers of health, we need to make sure we are doing everything we can to set residents up for success. We work at a community level, but in concentrated areas to maximize the effect of the investments we make. We don't just want individuals to survive; we want neighborhoods to thrive. This concept is one that takes a long-term commitment and multi-year investments, and that means we have to let some opportunities go that fall outside our focus neighborhoods. Learn more about our neighborhood impact.


Who controls and manages Habitat for Humanity Chicago? 

A local volunteer Board of Directors determines policy and oversees the mission of Habitat Chicago. Day-to-day operations are managed by our Executive Director, who is hired by the Board of Directors. 


Where else does Habitat for Humanity operate? What are Habitat for Humanity affiliates? 

Habitat for Humanity operates worldwide in over 70 countries. Habitat for Humanity's work is accomplished at the community level by local affiliates: independent, locally run, non-profit organizations. Habitat for Humanity Chicago is the only affiliate serving the city of Chicago. 


If Habitat Chicago is the only affiliate in Chicago, what is Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity? 

Chicagoland Habitat for Humanity is a support organization to the eight affiliates in the region. It does not provide public-facing programs but rather tries to help the area affiliates grow.


What is ReStore Chicago? 

ReStore Chicago is a nonprofit home improvement store and donation center that sells new and gently used home and building materials to the Chicago community at a fraction of the retail price. Profits from ReStore support Habitat Chicago’s mission. To learn more, visit our ReStore Chicago page


How can I volunteer?

For this and other common questions about volunteering, please visit our Volunteer FAQ page.  


How can I own a Habitat Chicago home? 

First, it’s important to know that we do not give homes away for free. Each applicant agrees to partner with us, which includes providing required information and documentation, attending homeownership preparation courses, volunteering at least 250 hours with us, and purchasing your home with an affordable mortgage. Learn more about our Affordable Homeownership Program.

 


Didn’t find what you’re looking for? Email info@habitatchicago.org or give us a call at (312) 563-0296. 
 

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