The Crusader Newspaper Group

For CHA resident, Choose to Own program led her to homeownership in 2 1⁄2 months


When Teshona Perkins first considered buying a house years ago, she wasn’t encouraged. The process seemed long and overwhelming. But then she attended two sessions on the Chicago Housing Authority’s Choose to Own (CTO) program.

“I thought it was far-fetched since everyone else I spoke with said it was this gruesome task,” said Perkins, who works in operations at JP Morgan Chase. “So I started the process, and I happened to be one of those who didn’t have any issues. I was that person that got it done in two-and-a-half months.”

Perkins is the 700th resident to have purchased a house through CTO since the program began in 2002. She moved into her brick bungalow in the South Chicago neighborhood in May.

The CTO program allows qualified public housing families or those participating in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to use a portion of their rent payments to accumulate equity and offset a portion of their mortgage – the same way a voucher is used to offset a portion of rent.

“Congratulations to Teshona for achieving her dream,” said CHA CEO Tracey Scott. “She is an example of perseverance and a role model for those with aspirations of purchasing their own home. We are proud of our Choose to Own program for helping 700 families meet their goals of economic independence.”

Through a variety of community partnerships, participants of the CTO program are provided a comprehensive support network that includes financial assistance, homebuyer education, credit counseling, and other services that help the families navigate the process and increase their chances of success as a homeowner.

Perkins said she is thankful for the team of experts that CTO provided. She is also thankful for feeling like she didn’t go through it by herself.

“From the counselors, all the way to the realtors and attorneys, they were all very helpful,” she said. “For each step, they gave me instructions on how to get to the next step.”

Perkins had performed so much of her own research heading into the CTO program that she moved forward faster than she anticipated. A Chicago native and a previous resident of the Woodlawn neighborhood, she looked at two houses before settling on the South Chicago address.

She said she immediately felt a “homey” feeling upon walking in for the first time. She said others have used the same word to describe it.

She couldn’t be happier, she said.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, that it’s my house,” said Perkins, who moved in the day she closed. “But it’s a joy every time I walk through it because it’s beautiful.”

About Chicago Housing Authority (CHA)

The CHA’s vision is to foster strong, vibrant communities throughout Chicago by increasing affordable housing choices for low-income families. The CHA is also the largest rental housing owner in the City of Chicago. It serves more than 133,000 people in 63,000 households across the city through our Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Project-Based Voucher programs. For more information, visit

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