Tamika recently shared with us her story of living in substandard housing, and why her partnership with Habitat Philadelphia is so important for her family.
She’s proud of her many accomplishments, but she also knows that making honest mistakes is an inevitable part of life—and she learned this when she and Jalynn rented an apartment for the first time. After saving two years’ worth of tax returns, she signed a lease for an apartment in Northeast Philadelphia for $1000 per month—more than half her monthly income. Tamika thought it would be worth the extra money because the apartment was spacious and (at least during her initial visit) it looked well-maintained. “When I moved into the apartment,” she said, “I thought that because I had an advanced degree, because I’d saved money, that I was smart. You think you do everything right…but life happens.”
She said that she worked on both her own home and on many other families’ homes, and that all of the painting and framing makes her feel empowered to repair and maintain her new home. She has also noticed that her daughter’s language is changing. Jalynn now says ‘house’ instead of ‘apartment’ when talking about their future home; she knows that they’ll own their house for the first time—and she knows that means she’ll be able to paint her room any color she wants (Tamika thinks it would be purple).