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Habitat Celebrates 50 Years

Changing the Status Quo for Property Management

Habitat has a long history of striving for excellence in the property management, development, and acquisition world. Throughout the past 50 years, we have truly surpassed expectations and thrived as a company that values our team, our partners, and our residents. As we reflect on our progress, we wanted to share some of the key achievements and remarkable advancements we have made that reflect the company we are today and the direction in which we are headed.

Foundations for the Future

The Habitat Company was founded by Daniel Levin 50 years ago!

“I developed a few small residential buildings and after a few years I started a partnership with James McHugh, who was the head of a big construction company, to help quicken our growth. We started to build more and bigger residential communities including South Commons on 30 acres in the near South Side. South Commons was one of the first large, diversified communities in Chicago. It included affordable housing, senior housing, market rate apartment buildings, and townhouses. It also had a small retail center to serve the community. I organized The Habitat Company in 1971 to combine all our development activities and wanted a name that best represented our goals going forward. These were, and are, to provide a very good “habitat” for our residents in the communities in which they live.

Over the years we have grown from less than 40 employees to over 800. Habitat has been involved in developing and managing over 18,000 residential units and related commercial. I am proud of that, and of the culture we enjoy and continue to nourish.

I am confident that Habitat will continue to steadily grow. We now have the best and most experienced management team we have ever enjoyed. We have never been stronger as a team, and as dedicated to being proud of who we are. And, continuing to grow our culture of full respect for our employees, and for the diversity they represent, while developing and managing existing and new properties with our standard of excellence in all that we do and who we are.” – Daniel Levin, Founder & Chairman of The Habitat Company

Women & Wisdom

Habitat’s team is comprised of 56% women, and our leadership team is 55% women! We have women leaders running Habitat’s Accounting, Marketing, Human Resources, and Property Management teams as well heading up more than half of our communities!

  • 12 of 17 Market Rate properties are run by women

  • 19 of 33 Habitat Affordable Group (HAG) & CHA properties are run by women

  • 7 of 12 Condo properties are run by women

  • 2 of 4 Market Rate Regional Managers are women

  • 6 of 7 HAG & CHA Regional Managers are women

  • Not to mention all of the amazing team members we have on-site and in our corporate office!

We’d like to introduce you to a few key Women leaders here at Habitat!

  • Sheila Byrne, Executive Vice President of Property Management

  • Cindy Dietz, Senior Vice President of Accounting, Corporate Controller

  • Gina Fortune-Harmon, Vice President of Property Management

  • Kim Sisney, Vice President of Habitat Affordable Group

  • Maureen Vaughn, Vice President of Marketing & Communications

  • Lori Flaska, Vice President of Human Resources

  • Lori Chacos, Vice President, Assistant General Counsel

  • Janay Hayes-Mohamed, Director of Property Operations

We wouldn’t be where we are today without the incredible Women moving Habitat forward!

Cultivating Culture

At Habitat, we not only care about our residents, but our team members, too! An important aspect of being a Habitat team member is the culture of inclusivity, team work, and fun! We celebrate our culture in a variety of ways:

  • Monthly Happy Hours – Each month, a different department gets to host the monthly Happy Hour. They choose the theme, food, and decorations! While COVID-19 resulted in our teams working from home for several months, these on-site Happy Hours haven’t quite made their comeback just yet! We made due throughout the pandemic with virtual happy hours, scavenger hunts, and trivia games! We greatly look forward to once again hosting these exciting & fun themed happy hours!

  • National Day of Service – Each year, Habitat participates in the National Day of Service to live out our motto of Doing More Together. Our team gathers together in each of our respective states to volunteer and give back, while getting some quality bonding time in, too!

  • Annual Celebration – Habitat’s Annual Celebration is a team member favorite! Each year, team members gather for the Annual Celebration event which is filled with games, dancing, food & drinks, and words from our President and CEO! It’s a great night and a great reminder of why we all love Team Habitat. As a part of the celebration, we also feature our service awardees during the evening. Service awardees are our amazing team members who have been with Habitat for 25 years and over and are featured in a fun, exciting video that coincides with the year’s theme! Our Virtual Celebration video from 2020 was a spoof on our favorite 80s & 90s sitcoms and was all about Team Habitat, and our 2021 video took us to the lux, atmospheric speak easy named Levin’s Lounge, which showcased our team as a fun cast of characters. You can check these out and more on our Habitat Instagram!

  • Team Outings - Mini golfing, participating in Tough Mudder competitions, attending awards galas, gathering in-office, dressing up for Halloween, decorating the office for the holidays – these are just some of our favorite parts about being in Team Habitat! And we certainly can’t forget the famed holiday Cookie Walk!

At Habitat, you aren’t just a number. You’re a part of the team, and the fun is just beginning.

Raising the Standard for Affordable Housing

As our Founder & Chairman Daniel Levin famously said, "No project is only an investment in real estate. It is an investment in the future of the community and in the lives of the people who will live and work there."

Habitat got its start in Affordable Housing and has since gone on to help thousands live comfortably – no matter their economic status. At Habitat, we believe that everyone deserves a warm, welcoming place to call home. We have an incredible team leading the Habitat Affordable Group and furthering our footprint in the affordable & mixed-income sectors. Some of our current and future projects in the mixed-income sector are as follows:

  • 43 Green - Bronzeville, Chicago

  • Ogden Commons - North Lawndale, Chicago

  • Concord at Sheridan - Rogers Park, Chicago

  • Park Boulevard IB - Bronzeville, Chicago

  • 23rd Place at Southbridge - Motor Row, Chicago

We can’t wait to see what the next 50 years has in store for us here at The Habitat Company! Check out our Instagram all November for a peak inside life at Habitat and all the things we are so proud of.

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