Open House, Open Hearts, Open Applications


“Good morning, welcome to my home!” Very soon-to-be Habitat Chicago Homeowner and current Partner Family Crysteal Marshbanks repeated these words brightly as many familiar and unfamiliar faces entered her future home on Saturday, February 6th at Habitat Chicago’s Open House for prospective partner family applicants. Habitat Chicago is accepting applicants to join our homebuyer program now through March 5th.  See what Crysteal had to say about the program, and what words of advice she gives to future families. 


The sun was shining brightly as Crysteal stood with other current Habitat Chicago partner families in her newly completed kitchen. The families talked about their future homes, their block, and bonded as future neighbors. Dreams of colorful walls and beautiful wood flooring floated through the air as potential families drifted through the home, stopping to ask questions and share their concerns. “I was worried about that too, but don’t worry about it,” Crysteal encouraged  sincerely, as she  walked with them through the home, eager to share each piece of her experience, “Have you seen the basement?” 


Crysteal knows better than anyone – Habitat Chicago partner families aren’t just buying a home; they are beginning a journey. It isn’t as simple as handing over a check in exchange for a set of keys – our families invest in themselves, putting in a minimum of 250 hours of sweat equity as they work on their homes and their neighbors’ homes. And it doesn’t stop there – families invest over 100 hours in Homeowner University classes, learning skills from financial responsibility to home maintenance and upkeep. It’s only after they put in all of this work that they pay for their home at a 30-year, 0% interest mortgage. These families are not getting a hand out; they are receiving a hand-up as they work toward a more stable future. 


Crysteal did not have to show prospective families her home; she agreed to open the doors to her home to strangers because she believes in Habitat and believes that it will work for other families, “At first, I was like – they won’t accept me; I don’t have the best credit, I don’t make a whole lot of money at work, and I was so wrong… I would just tell anybody to give it a try”. 


If you or someone you know is ready to make the first step toward homeownership – don’t hesitate. If you have a need for safe, affordable housing; if you show a willingness to partner with Habitat Chicago and put in your sweat equity hours; and if you show you have an ability to pay – you can apply for this program. 



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