REALTORS® Work to Build Up Chicago’s Southwest Side

November 2, 2017

This Wednesday and Thursday, the REALTORS® Volunteer Build, an annual event that traditionally kicks off the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, returned to the city where it began.

REALTORS® and affiliates gathered in West Pullman, a neighborhood on Chicago’s far southwest side, to work on three Habitat for Humanity houses on the 19000 block of South Union Ave. The work, which ranged from framing to siding to interior finishing work, is part of a multiyear plan to build 16 new homes on the same block.

Bill Milliken, broker-owner of Milliken Realty in Ann Arbor, Mich., and the National Association of REALTORS®’ regional vice president for Region Six, welcomed the volunteers with a nod to the long-running partnership between Habitat for Humanity and NAR.

“It’s a homecoming of sorts today because this began in 2001 in Chicago,” Milliken said. “This is another chapter in it today, and we glad to be able to share all of that with you.”

Habitat for Humanity Chicago has been working with the city to acquire land and resources that can be used to both build new houses and to beautify and revitalize neighborhoods.

“Each of these families is investing in these homes by becoming homeowners,” said Jen Parks, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Chicago. “We believe that neighborhoods are places where we need to invest in order to thrive, so bringing more homeowners into the neighborhood is one way to do that.”

Shelonda Montgomery plans to purchase one of the homes the volunteers worked on Wednesday, and will likely move in with her grandmother and son this spring. She was on the site Wednesday, and expressed gratitude for not only the efforts of the volunteers, but also the opportunity to work and learn alongside them: “It’s fun. I’m also learning by working on this home and others. I’ve learned how to repair stuff on a home, which is important because I know that’s expensive.”

For a tour of the site, check out this playback of our Facebook Live broadcast Wednesday:

—Meg White, REALTOR® Magazine