Choose to Own Homeownership Program

Homeowner 700 CTO


CHA’s Choose to Own Homeownership Program (CTO) allows qualified Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) 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.

Since 2002, CTO participants have purchased 740 homes in the City of Chicago (as of 4th Quarter, 2021).

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 Chicago
  • LUCHA Law Project
  • Licensed Real Estate Brokers
  • Lenders/Banks
  • Real Estate Attorneys

To qualify for CTO, you must meet the following criteria in:

  • Income: Household must meet income and employment requirements (Head of households who are senior and disabled have income exception), meeting or exceeding HUD's very low income limit of 50% of area median income (AMI).
    • For both public housing and HCV programs (including CTO), eligibility requires that CHA families' annual income not exceed HUD's Low Income Limit of 80% of AMI
    • Credit: Be credit worthy with scores of 640 or more and good credit history
22 ami_1.jpg
  • Savings/Down Payment: Have $3,000 in savings with capability of continuing to save ($2,000 for HOH senior and disabled families).
  • Maintenance Reserve: Have $1,000 in personal savings prior to closing that will serve as a financial safety net for unexpected home repairs.
  • Lease Compliance: Compliant with your CHA development or your HCV Landlord.

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

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, CTO Information Session Workshops will be conducted virtually. Please CLICK HERE to access our informational flow chart for those interested in participating in CTO.


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