As with any real estate transaction, it all depends on your situation. They can be advantageous because of lower down payment requirements. There are also some first time home buyer programs. Do some Googling and see what Illinois can offer.
If you're in a lower income situation right now, I'd advise you really think about whether purchasing a home makes sense right now. You not only have to afford the down payment (along with other closing costs typically), but you also should have some reserves to cover several months of mortgage + potential expenses (like the dishwasher breaking) in case you lose your job.
If you can house hack and buy a duplex/triplex or buy something with multiple rooms so that you have roommates, it could make sense financially if it can reduce your living expenses compared to your current rent rates. But again it all depends.
Even if you determine that it does not make financial sense right now (or if it's going to take 6-12 months to save to the point where it makes sense financially), you can still learn about real estate and start getting involved. Maybe there's another investor you could help in Chicago?
Lastly, if you haven't already, check out the BiggerPockets Money podcast and other resources in the Financial Independence community. You may be able to find some ways to cut your current monthly expenses and increase your savings rate (so you'll save for a down payment faster and reduce your financial risk if your expenses are lower).
It's definitely possible to get a loan, but as others have said, and it sounds like you have also figured out, the more income you have the better your chances are at getting approved. There are all kinds of things that play in to getting approved. You can always buy a house with seller financing without any bank involved. I have a couple friends who just did that in Chicago.
@Dominique Mickles it might be possible, how long have you worked there and/or part time? There are lots of specific questions that will need to be answered. Also if you are buying a 2-4 unit that rental income will help too. There are also down payment assistance programs available. You need to talk to a loan officer :)
@Dominique Mickles I'll PM you :)