The Friendship House: A Three Year Longitudinal StudyThe Friendship House: A Three Year Longitudinal Study

Faculty Mentor(s)

Professor Jane Finn, Hope College

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This research was supported by a grant from the Eugene and Mary Heideman Fund.


How can we facilitate the functional independence of individuals with cognitive disabilities in our own community? Throughout the world, housing shortages for individuals with disabilities abound. Due to this lack of appropriate residential housing, a unique living arrangement named the Friendship House was created. The Friendship House is an establishment in which college and seminary students live side by side with people with cognitive impairments in a small dormitory setting on the seminary campus. Each young adult with a disability shares a suite with three college or seminary students. We conducted a qualitative research study by interviewing the (a) roommates without disabilities (b) roommates with disabilities, and (c) the parents of the roommates with disabilities. Our research will discuss the longitudinal findings of this study, which includes suggestions on how to improve this type of housing as well as information regarding the replication of this type of housing option on other college campuses. We have noted several general trends and themes that are also addressed in our research. The ultimate goal of The Friendship House is to provide young adults with cognitive impairments an opportunity to live independently and actively contribute to society. Using the results from this study, similar housing opportunities can be pursued for young adults with disabilities throughout the United States.

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