16-Home Development: The End of the Beginning

It all started with a dream. Several years ago we began working with the West Pullman community with the vision of transforming a vacant block into a 16-home development on the corner of 119th and Union Avenue. In the winter of 2018, we realized that goal due to the hard work and energy of supporters like you.


Visual Model of Union Ave.
Visual model of Union Ave.


On paper, West Pullman is a middle-market neighborhood with high levels of homeownership and great housing stock, but the area is so much more than that. West Pullman is a neighborhood full of history, resilience, and personality. It is a neighborhood full of passionate individuals who care about the prosperity of their community.


December 2018 marked a very special occasion for us as we wrapped up the final Home Dedication Ceremony on the block, symbolically closing the door on our 16-home project and ushering in a new era as we proceeded to our next project in West Pullman on Emerald Avenue. Right around the block from Union, Emerald also held vacant lots, filled with untapped potential. 


Looking back at our journey on Union Ave., it’s joyful to reminisce.The block saw the start of many incredible initiatives that helped fund and build homes, including five annual Women Builds, the Pope Francis Home Challenge, and the very first House That Tech Built. We got to see initiative and engagement from the bowling brothers, and so, so many smiling faces at Home Dedication Ceremonies. Several of these events came to fruition with the help of our incredible partners, including ExelonSalesforceThriventBMO, and many more.  


The houses themselves would be nothing without the families who reside within them, however. Today, 16 families live side by side as respectful neighbors and active community members, invested in their own futures as well as the future of West Pullman. A once empty block is now home to unique families each with their own  stories. Together, they are building a stronger, more stable neighborhood. 


Yes, we completed 16 houses in West Pullman, but more importantly 16 families have accessed the strength, stability, and self-reliance of affordable homeownership. To cap off our beloved Union project, Aphriditie and Tonya had their Home Dedication Ceremony on Union Ave in December 2018.


Six homeowners pose for a photo at Aphriditie and Tonya' home dedication ceremony.


The houses that we build reflect the area in size and style, but it’s the families that make each one of them special.


Looking forward, Habitat Chicago is thrilled to announce that we plan on returning to Union Avenue, this time on the West side of the street. We’ve learned from our homeowners that no dream worth having comes easily, but we’re ready to take what we’ve learned and continue to help West Pullman grow as we return to Union Avenue. We hope you’ll join us for the ride!



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