Shelonda is gentle, humble, earnest, and kind. She is a daughter, a mother, a teacher, a tutor, an author, an artist, and an animal-lover. She is a deep thinker and a perpetual learner.


It takes a whole lot to make Shelonda angry or upset. But one of the few things that has is the impossible whims of Chicago’s rental market. 


On two separate occasions, Shelonda and her family were given 30-day notices from their landlord that they needed to vacate their apartments, as their landlords were looking to sell the buildings quickly to make a profit. After the second time her family was forced into this unnerving uncertainty, Shelonda declared she would never let it happen again. 


“I decided then and there to own my own home to make sure this would never happen to my family again.” 


After careful research, Shelonda discovered, applied for, and was accepted into the Habitat Chicago affordable homeownership program. 


And since the minute she got the call that she would become a Habitat homeowner, Shelonda has been working eagerly to build a permanent home for herself, her son, James, and her mom, Emma. If you visit the Habitat build site on a Saturday, chances are you’ll cross paths with Shelonda. 


Shelonda tells of what fuels her day after day.


“I’m working so hard because James is in college now, and I want to make sure the only thing he has to worry about is his classes and his grades. And my mother Emma is so gentle and kind. I just want to give her the comfort she deserves.”


It won’t be long until family moves into their home, and they are each looking forward to this day with great joy and optimism.  


Shelonda is excited to have the space she needs to prepare lesson plans and to deck it out with her own artwork. James can’t wait to hang posters of his favorite rock groups in his room and have a backyard to work out in. And Grandma Emma is looking forward to watching and sharing her favorite classic television shows with her family. 


And most importantly, all three look forward to never having to worry about receiving an unjust 30-day notice again.  

Sign up for our newsletter for the latest news and opportunities to get involved!