Choose to Own

CHA Featured on CBS

Through CHA’s Choose to Own program, residents use a portion of their rent payment to accumulate equity and offset their mortgage. Sherrie Gary is the 800th resident to close since CTO started. Read the whole article on

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot shares the inspiring story and Sherrie Gary gives a tour of her new home in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood. 


CHA’s Choose to Own Homeownership Program (CTO) allows qualified Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Public Housing families to use their housing subsidy to buy a home and receive monthly assistance with a portion of their mortgage payment. In addition to financial assistance toward the mortgage payment, the CTO program provides referrals to pre- and post-purchase homebuyer education, credit counseling, real estate industry professionals, and other services to help families navigate the home buying process and increase their chances of success and self-sufficiency. 

Most CTO families utilize the voucher to pay a portion of their mortgage – the same way families use a voucher to pay a portion of their rent. CHA uses the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) to help families pay a portion of their monthly mortgage payment for up to 15 years (up to 30 years for head of households who are elderly or disabled). Other families are able to take on the full mortgage payment and don’t require financial assistance from the CHA. These families are able to transition directly out of subsidized housing.

The CTO program combines knowledgeable staff, strong community partnerships, and industry professionals to give you a comprehensive support network that guides you through your path of homeownership:

  • Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago
  • YWCA Metropolitan Chicago
  • Licensed Real Estate Brokers
  • Lenders/Banks

Since 2002, CTO participants have purchased 800 homes in the City of Chicago (as of 4th Quarter, 2022).

Homeowner 700 CTO


  • Must be a CHA voucher holder or public housing resident for a minimum of one (1) year.
  • Must be in compliance and in good standing with HCV or PH lease.
  • Must be a first-time homebuyer; may not have owned a home during last 3 years.
  • Meet the requirements of income, credit, and savings.


CTO Household Income Chart
  • Working and/or self-employed families must meet or exceed HUD's low income limit of 50% of area median income (AMI).
  • Seniors (62+) and/or disabled Head of Households (HOH) must meet or exceed the income exception requirement of $10,092 a year.

(For both HCV and public housing programs (including CTO), eligibility requires that CHA families' annual income not exceed HUD's Low Income Limit of 80% of AMI).


  • Must be credit worthy with a 640 minimum credit score and good credit history.

(Lender will advise on available down payment assistance programs)



If you are interested in learning more about the CTO program or want to see if you qualify, participating in a CTO orientation session is required. 

CTO orientation sessions are conducted virtually and in-person. Virtual sessions are held on Thursdays, and in-person sessions are held once a month.

Virtual Orientations

To attend virtually, you will need to download the Zoom platform. It does not cost anything to download the software here and view tutorials here

Please note: Registrants for the CTO virtual orientation are required to attend a full session to receive credit for attendance. Registrants will not be able to enter the CTO virtual orientation session after a 5-minute grace period. If registrants are 5-minutes late or leave prior to session completion, they must register for another session. Thank you! 

If you are interested in attending a virtual orientation session, please review orientation session dates and register at the zoom link provided below. 

In-Person Orientations

In-person sessions are held once a month from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM at the FIC located 4859 S Wabash Ave 4859 South Wabash Avenue Chicago, IL 60615.


CTO program staff are available for in-person appointments on Tuesdays at the FIC located at 4859 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago, IL 60615. Registration is required. In-person appointments are for general inquiries about the CTO program and registrants must be a CHA resident.

Please note: The session will start promptly at the available time selected. If you are not able to attend a scheduled appointment, please cancel by viewing instructions here. Thank you!

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about scheduled session.