Willis and others who had successfully completed the program and bought homes told the audience about their own stories.
She broke down as she tried to talk about how the property she was in was sold out from under her this past January, and she was given 30 days to move out.
“I went through a lot,” she said.
Willis said she enrolled in the county program in February and moved into her house in April.
Annetha Weatherspoon moved into her newly renovated brick home in Calumet City on Thursday after living in a two-room apartment in that city. She said the house, which has new appliances, had been on the market about two weeks.
Kenya Sutton told the audience she feels “empowered” owning a home. She bought her home in Chicago Heights in April 2018 after completing the county program.
“Each and every day I thank the Lord I’m a homeowner,” she said.
Speaking afterward, Sutton said her path to home ownership “definitely was a process” and involved “a lot of paperwork.”
“I knew it was going to happen eventually,” she said.
Scott said the process isn’t an easy one and there can be setbacks, but that a “setback does not mean you can’t make a comeback.”
Addressing the audience, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said that home ownership is “an important aspect of the American dream,” but that the path to ownership can be “difficult and sometimes confusing.”
The housing authority, citing national statistics, notes that home ownership among African Americans is at 41% compared with 71% for whites.
Speaking later with a reporter, Monocchio said the recession and predatory lending practices were among factors that have driven down the ownership rate for African Americans.