Habitat For Humanity Your Keys 2014 Recap #thehfbuilds #HabitatChicago


So much has happened in our journey to build our own home, that I feel like I can’t quite keep up. For instance, this awesome Your Keys event took place on April 12 of this year, and then I tore a shoulder muscle, and then traveled to Branson, MO – TWICE.  I’ve only blogged about Branson though, so I felt that I should remedy that, and quickly. So here I am, and there you are, and well, we’re going to learn some stuff today. 


First, I’m here to answer your question – WHAT IS YOUR KEYS? Good question! Your Keys is a one day homeownership resource fair that paired willing prospects the ability to meet with Habit for Humanity’s Chicago Affiliate along with being able to connect with job, housing and financial resources. The great thing about this event is that even if those who came out were not in the realm of Habitat for Humanity’s qualifications, there were housing resources there that could possibly match up with them. Upon introductions, free assessments of the financial health of the applicants were given. 


This year Mr. Houseful and I were on the other side of the application process and were able to chat up some applicants and their families who came to support them. Sometimes it was a bit heartbreaking to hear their stories. Most of them living in housing that is taking a great chunk of their income, or not up to par because of landlords not holding up their end of the lease. We also got to meet a lot of the partner families that are currently in different stages of their sweat equity as well! Here’s Mr. Houseful with one of the future homeowners! 


There were also several applicants who had questions about the validity of the Habitat for Humanity Your Keys event. A lot were under the assumption that Habitat for Humanity was giving out free homes. Once again, I wish, I think that everyone wishes that they were able to get a quality built home free and clear, and we were there to handle those misconceptions – from a partner family perspective. Here’s the deal – once you are accepted as a partner family, you are required to fulfill a certain amount of sweat equity. Sweat equity is the amount of time that you are required to volunteer on various Habitat approved sites to help in the building of your home or homes of other partner families in your affiliates area. After you have finished those requirements, you are able to sign all of your paperwork, put your closing payments to work for you and then…then….MOVE INTO YOUR NEW HOME! 


I may be oversimplifying for the sake of a blog post, as it is a LOT of work to get that sweat equity earned, especially with working adults in the home. However it is so worth the pain (sweat equity, yo) the face masks you’ll wear while building and sanding, and sawing.  It’s worth the Saturdays that you can’t hang out during the day with friends and family because you’ll be able to do that and so much more when you’re in your new house. 

We were able to snag a few pictures as I was one of three photographers (and the noob to boot) at the event.  We were even able to include our oldest son and my bestie in the process, and I’m hoping that they learned some things about how far we’ve come.

If you want to see more than mine, you can check out Windy City Habitat’s Facebook page for more! 


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  • Reply
    Melissa Jennings
    May 6, 2014 at 8:15 am

    We have volunteered with Habitat too and it is such a rewarding experience.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2014 at 8:26 am

    I have loved every experience I had has volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Thanks for sharing yours!

  • Reply
    May 6, 2014 at 8:43 am

    My church actually just started being highly active with Habitat for Humanity – we have a #TrueLoveWeek going on next week, and we are all doing some volunteering for them – even some right in my neighborhood.
    Thanks for sharing – I can’t wait to get started!

  • Reply
    Sherryl Wilson
    May 6, 2014 at 9:54 am

    This is a great program. We work with the local group and it is so heartwarming to see the smiles and tears of families finally in their own home.

  • Reply
    Gina H
    May 8, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Habitat for Humanity is an amazing program that I have always admired.

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