• Covenant House Illinois

CHIL Youth Spotlight: Habi

Updated: Sep 28

Meet Habi G. At 22 years old, Habi is quickly making strides toward his future plans and career goals.


Born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Bend, Indiana, Habi was eager to move to Chicago with dreams of big opportunities in a large city. He set off on his own, making the move to Chicago, but found himself unable to afford stable housing.

Looking for help, Habi learned about CHIL from resources he found at a local library. After calling to get more information, he started making regular visits to CHIL’s Youth Development Drop-in Center, where he was able to access warm meals, laundry facilities, and case management support.


As soon as a room in CHIL’s Residential Program became available, Habi moved in and very soon after secured employment working as a busser in a local restaurant. Though the job was a good starting place as he began establishing his independence, Habi had more ambitious dreams.

Coincidently, one day, while Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza was touring CHIL’s new facility she met Habi and was impressed with his good nature, professionalism, and drive.


Habi updated his resume and applied to an Administration Internship opening within Comptroller Mendoza’s office. Not having a working cell phone at the time, Habi waited all day by the front desk phone at CHIL for a call, hoping he secured the internship. Soon thereafter he received the call that the position was his!


After just three weeks of the internship, Habi was offered full-time employment working for both the Local Government and Administration Departments. The Comptroller’s office also offered financial aid for his government classes at Truman College, where he is enrolled to start classes, this fall, studying Accounting and Finance.


In the brief time, Habi has spent at CHIL, he has achieved success in leaps and bounds, thanks to his own hard work and determination. And while he worked and made plans, he was also busy saving for an apartment and will be moving into his very own place in September.


In his free time, Habi likes playing basketball and chess. Yet another accomplishment while residing at CHIL has been frequently and decisively demolishing CHIL’s very own Associate Director of Institutional Giving - Sam Pauley, in chess.


Advice Habi would give to other Youth experiencing homelessness is to “Keep your sights on your goals, you can accomplish anything if you keep focusing and take it one step at a time. Don’t worry when things aren’t going your way, it will always get better”.


Habi isn’t done working toward his future; he is relentlessly learning, taking on new challenges, and growing his network. He recently connected with CHIL’s Board Member Greg Pusinelli, founder of the William Blair Investment Counseling business to discuss career options and explore future collaborations. Greg shares “From our first meeting it was clear Habi had a game plan in mind for his future and the motivation to make it happen. My wife and I were so impressed that our feelings for CHIL were made even stronger by the thought of how much of a difference it makes to our youth.”


Habi explains he is so grateful for CHIL resources “they helped me find a job, it’s a safe place to be, to know I have a safe place to lay my head at night and take showers. The support from the Youth Advisors to Case Managers and the Leadership Team has been amazing”.


Habi’s short-term goals are to “get accustomed to living on my own again once I move out. And then Long-term, I’m going to graduate with a bachelor’s in Financial Planning and possibly work as a Portfolio Manager one day”.


“We are so proud of all Habi has accomplished so far. With the support, encouragement, and access to opportunities provided by CHIL, Habi is well on his way to realizing all his aspirations, and we can’t wait to see the amazing things to come in his future!” Says Amy Laird, Director of Programs.


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