"Before I became a Habitat Chicago homeowner, my family was evicted twice within six months as a result of neighborhood gentrification. Sadly for me and so many other families, landlords in Illinois are able to evict tenants without cause. Although we were paying our rent and caring for the property, our landlord saw an opportunity to evict us, rehab the property, and rent it for twice or three times its previous asking price. Because my family could not afford the exorbitant increase in rent, we were left in a panic, not knowing how or where we would find a safe place to live that we could afford on such short notice. I now know that my family and I will never face this again because I am now a homeowner in control of my destiny. I will never forget all of the volunteers and staff I met on the build site who were generous, kind, hardworking, and fixated on making sure that every detail of my home was perfect."
"If you asked me early last year if my husband and I would be homeowners this year, my answer would have been a firm no. I just didn’t see it being financially possible for us. However, we would still sit around and dream about our home with … a yard for entertaining and barbecuing and a basement to make into a dual purpose man/woman cave. Oh, and two bathrooms. Two bathrooms were definitely at the top of the list. Not only will we have all of that soon, we’ve extended our village, and for that I’m grateful. We had a clear need, and Habitat met it, within the confines of our circumstances. Not only will we have a house that we’ll be inhabiting first – we’ll be doing it while paying a mortgage that doesn’t spread us thin, and allows us to live within our means."
"Working with Habitat has changed my life completely. Today my credit is better and I’m learning how to save. I’m so very grateful for Habitat for Humanity. I could never have been able to have a beautiful, affordable home built from the ground up. There was a point in this journey I almost gave up. I just couldn’t balance working, kids, and sweaty equity. But then one of my managers at work offered to organize a group to help me earn my first 150 sweat equity hours and it reminded me to just keep building – that people all around me wanted me to succeed."
"If I can just tell you about owning a home: it is the most beautiful thing – an affordable home is happiness, security, pride, stability, appreciation. It started out hard. Boy was it hard! But I was always told with hard work, you can achieve anything and, you know, I just had to do it for me and my boys. There are no words that can even describe the joy and the love we feel when we’re together—the world just stops. We laugh and enjoy, eat, get some sleep. There’s no other feeling like it. We have been in our house for just over a year now. I come home from work and just smile. I still can't believe it is my house."
"To own a home in the United States is a success to my sister and my family. Knowing that my sister has been helping her family for her whole life, even giving up school for us; it is absolutely beautiful to see Habitat for Humanity helping her in return. Instead of wasting money on rent every month, we are investing that money into a place that we can call home. It is amazing to think that in a decade or so from now we will actually own the property. Also it brings us comfort knowing that we do not have to worry about moving from one place to another or deal with the stress of renewing a lease."