Pam Banks and the Recipe for Habitat Success

Pam Banks is busy these days, but you’ll rarely find her without a smile on her face.  Since starting our homeownership program last year, she’s finished 350 hours of Sweat Equity on Habitat’s construction sites and at the ReStore.  That’s on top of working and raising her two sons, Kenneth (age 7) and Malachi (age 10).  “I’ve got some things going,” she says with an easy laugh, which might win for biggest understatement of the year.  And for anyone who’s new to construction work (especially if you’re no longer in your 20’s), she recommends a couple of must-have tools.  “Epsom salt and Tylenol.  I keep them in the medicine cabinet now.  Other than that, the little aches—they come with the territory!”

How does she balance it all?  “I’m looking back and trying to figure that out!” she jokes.  One of Pam’s most distinctive characteristics is her sheer determination to work towards something better for her family.  “It hasn’t been difficult,” she says of the homeownership program.  “Once I committed, it was like, ‘We’re gonna do this.’ And that was it.”  She also draws energy from her family.  “My sons are good company—if I didn’t have them, I’d probably be crazy right now—they keep me busy!”

Habitat For Humanity Partner Family Philadelphia

At our ReStore Grand Opening, Pam (right) jumped into the festivities alongside Eagles Cheerleaders!

Pam currently rents a two-bedroom apartment in a public housing complex, but it’s not enough space, especially as her sons grow.  “I was working and my hours were cut, so the low-income housing came in at the right time,” she explains.  “I do appreciate it, but it’s nowhere near ideal.  My two sons share a room now—but it’s so small.  You have the bed in the room, and just enough walk-space—and that’s it.”  Just about everything in the tiny apartment is too small for the family, including the kitchen.  “I like to cook, and I like for my daughters [now full-grown with their own families] to come over.  But it’s crowded and uncomfortable.”

Pam Banks at the Habitat For Humanity ReStore

Pam (center) with Habitat staff Shonda (left) and Rebecca (right).

So Pam is quick to list the ways homeownership will be a good thing for her family.  Besides finally having enough space, “we can always go into the house and close the door, so whatever’s going on outside, we’ll have that feeling of security from being in our home.  And Kenneth and Malachi will have their own rooms.  They get to be themselves that way—we can be together here, but they can always branch off and do their own thing by themselves.  Sometimes Malachi doesn’t want to be bothered with his little brother, and I understand that!”

And for herself—what’s she most looking forward to?  “Stability,” she says, without a moment’s hesitation. “Closing the door—the peace of mind I’ll have.  I work for it, and it’s my time to be stable,” she says.  ‘It’ll be the house that’s meant for me and my family.”

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About Habitat Philadelphia

Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia is an independently chartered affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), the largest nonprofit homebuilder worldwide. Locally, Habitat Philadelphia is on a mission to transform lives and our city by building and repairing quality homes in partnership with families in need, and uniting all Philadelphians around the cause of affordable housing. Our Vision is a city where all Philadelphians live in safe, affordable homes.
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