About Friendship House Community

Friendship House Community is comprised of two federally funded apartment buildings with a total of 200 apartments with 15 handicapped accessible units on the first floor of the south building and 50 accessible units in the north building. Four of the accessible units are equipped for hearing or vision impaired individuals.

Friendship House Community is a HUD subsidized facility providing seniors age 62 or older and mobility impaired individuals under age 62 with housing specifically designed to meet the needs of those individuals.

How it all came to be…

The History of Friendship House Community

On August 8, 1978, the Certificate of Incorporation was issued by the Secretary of State of Indiana. Situated on 8.3 acres of land, the five-story, three-wing building occupies a sizeable portion of the property.

The original seed monies for Friendship House were given by Lutheran Homes as a mission to provide low-income elderly with safe, decent, affordable housing. Friendship House then became a part of the Presbyterian Housing Program (PHP) until 1980, when control was transferred to a local ten member board. This board was appointed by PHP President, James Ransom.

The first Management Agents were the American Retirement Corporation in 1981, Retirement Housing Foundation in 1983, and Hayes/Ferguson & Associates since 1989. Lenzy Hayes Inc began management in 2000. These companies are well versed in dealing with Senior Housing Communities and the guidelines established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The first Administrator was Donna McCullen who was succeeded by Joanne Damman in 1986. The current Property Management team consists of Beverly Wallace and Diann Hazelgrove. There was 100% occupancy within the first year and at that time the waiting list to be a resident was 10-12 months long with little or no advertising. “Word of mouth” has kept Friendship House a desired place to live!

A Resident Council was formed in 1981 and Standing Rules were adopted in 1982. The By-Laws were revised, voted upon and adopted by the residents in 1987. The dining room was opened in 1983 for noon meals. A beauty shop for the residents was opened in 1984. The grocery store was opened in 1983 with resident volunteers. Friendship House became a voting precinct in 1984. A resale shop commenced in 1985. Residents enjoy the convenience of these facilities without having to leave the building.

The Resident Council was dissolved in 2006. This allowed more residents to become involved with activities and decisions through committee involvement combining both Friendship House, Inc. and Friendship House North Two, Inc.

There are numerous social activities for the Residents of Friendship House including bingo, crafts, movies, dances, and Euchre. There is occasional blood pressure screening, the Bookmobile, entertainment, and numerous other social activities throughout the month and year.

The building, inside and out, is kept running and looking at it’s best by our maintenance staff.

The residents are a big part of maintaining the sense of family and community and it’s very evident when one enters the front doors. Greetings are extended to all who enter. ”Volunteering” seems to be the main ‘job’ at Friendship House Community. Everyone who offers to help their neighbor by getting their mail, picking up something at the store for another who doesn’t have a car, pushing a wheelchair down the hall are all volunteering. Willingness to help a fellow Resident seems to be the nicest aspect of living at Friendship House.

Members of that first Board of Directors were:

  • Stanley Girardot, President
  • Ronald Melichar, Vice President
  • James Thompson, Secretary
  • Joseph Bonner, Treasurer
  • Betty Jean Kolby, Member
  • H Stewart Kline, Member
  • Roberts Brock, Member
  • John Kimpel, Member
  • Jeanne Harris, Member
  • Charles Horner, Member

Current Board Members

  • Stewart W. Kline, President
  • Robert W. Gross, Vice-President
  • Rich Adair – Treasurer
  • Brian Titlow – Secretary
  • Valerie Brock – Member
  • Carson Hayes – Management Agent
  • Greg Loyd – Member
  • Don Nead – Member
  • Matt Riebsomer – Member
  • Kimberly Thomas – Member
  • Bob Wollenburg – Member
  • Carson Hayes – Management Agent

Our mission is to promote the health, security, and happiness of our residents, while providing safe, clean, and affordable housing. We strive to provide an environment that promotes useful, active lifestyles and longer independent living.

Friendship House North Two Inc.

On October 25, 1995, a $3,060,000 grant was received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for construction of a 50-unit facility on property adjacent to Friendship House. This was the culmination of many hours of effort by the Board of Directors, Management Agent, and Administrative Staff.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on November 8, 1996 and attended by local, state, and national dignitaries. A reception was held in the Friendship House Dining Room with guest speakers. Work progressed slowly that spring due to heavy rainfall, however, the main framing of the exterior gave shape to the blueprints and we could begin to see our dream become a reality. The interior work advanced at a seemingly slow pace, but each week brought the building closer to occupancy. Initially, a tentative date of early November 1997 was set for completion; however, this date was to be moved back several times as numerous problems surfaced.

The task of contacting prospective Residents, through the existing waiting list, was begun in September of 1997. This proved to be a monumental endeavor as many applicants did not wish to move during the winter months. A total of seventy applicants were processed to allow for those who would change their minds or be physically unable to move. It was also a challenge to give prospective Residents a definite move-in date as the contractors kept advancing it.

Official possession of Friendship House North Two occurred December 30, 1997. One and a half weeks prior to that date, all 50 future Residents were contacted, arrangements were made for new leases to be signed, and a myriad of other details managed – all over a major holiday period! The first residents began moving into Friendship House North Two on January 5, 1998, with total occupancy reached by February 11th.

The construction company remained on-site for a month to attend to numerous small details which occur after new construction. The entire staff of Friendship House and Friendship House North Two share in the responsibilities of both facilities.

The residents of both buildings are welcome to attend various activities, events, and programs as one community. The two buildings are blending into the “Friendship House Community” envisioned by the Board of Directors and Administrative Staff. The staff and residents of both buildings have built a unified community of friendship between the two buildings.

Welcome to the Family!

On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff and current Friendship House Community residents, we welcome you!

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