The Pamoja House was formed in 1998 as an intentional community of co-ed college students, most of whom attended Calvin College. Its founding members sought to engage each other, their living space, and their neighborhood with purposeful sharing, both of time and energy, finances and food. Social justice, environmental awareness, frugality, community, and general Christian values were the backbone of the first few years of the community. Ken and Gail Heffner acted as mentors for the young community, offering counsel and guidance based on their own experiences living in community with other couples in Pittsburgh. The name Pamoja comes from the Kiswahili word for together.


The first semester spent living together at 304 Griggs Street SE was one of idealism and experimentation with living arrangement. A vegetarian diet was decided upon, and a collective bank account was opened to enable payments for house expenses such as groceries and party supplies, along with the rent, utilities, and other bills. The house became alcohol-free within a few months, mostly due to the convictions of Eric Scobie, whose interests included the straight-edge culture of the hardcore scene. This decision led to a string of celebrated Root Beer keggers which never failed to be just as much fun as other alcohol-fueled college parties.

A primary goal of the community during the first year was to connect personally with the children in the neighborhood, and many an evening was spent wrestling in the living room or playing in Garfield Park with Brad and Chad, a couple of neighborhood boys.


  • Eric Scobie, 1998-2002
  • Laura (Hoeksema) Cebulski, 1998-1999
  • Edye Evans, 1998-1999
  • Patrick VanZyl, 1998-1999
  • Natalie Skogerboe, 1998-1999
  • Mandie Schmid, 1999-2000
  • Ben Scott-Brandt, 1999-2000
  • Laura Abby Taylor, 1999-2000
  • Rachel Medema, 1999-2001
  • Madrigal Stone, 2000-2001
  • Candice Wiers, 2000-2001
  • Stephanie Smolinski, 2000-2001
  • Josh Ippel, 2000-2002
  • Aaron Bandstra, 2000-2001
  • Matt Poole, 2000-2002
  • Joe Eisenbraun,
  • Kristyn Lynch, 2002-2003
  • Jack Kielstra,
  • Kevin Buist, 2003-2004
  • Jonathan Spee, 2003
  • Rachel Korf, 2004-
  • Peter Westerhuis
  • Maree Ness, 2005
  • Gabe Kruise, 2006
  • Kate Falls, 2005-2006
  • Eugene Dening, 2005-2006
  • Alysha McFadden, 2005-2007
  • Hannah Forsythe, 2006-2008
  • Miranda Brouwer, 2007-
  • Kourtney Stonehouse 2007-
  • Hannah Maier 2007-
  • Joel Geib 2008-


  • 304 Griggs Street SE
  • 822 Elliott Street SE
  • 1015 Worden Street SE
  • 435 & 437 Worden Street SE
  • 437 & 439 Worden Street SE (current location)