The Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority is partnering with Community Renewal of Pottawatomie County to build a Friendship House on Absentee land, as part of what the Tribe calls the “Good Neighbor Project.”

The Friendship House will sit on southeast corner of Bryan and Main, directly across the street from Rolling Hills, the newest housing addition for Absentee Elders. When Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority Director Sherry Drywater heard about Community Renewal’s Friendship House Initiative, she saw an opportunity.

The Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority provides vital services to the community like low rent housing, transitional housing, college housing assistance, home rehabilitation, and much more.

According to the press release, it is their goal to provide excellence in service by being committed to improving the housing conditions and related social, educational and economic aspects which affect the overall living conditions of the Native American community.

“I see a lot of families struggling and needing support” Drywater said, “and once I learned about Community Renewal and their focus on family and caring for your neighbors, I knew that was exactly the type of partnership the Absentee Shawnee Housing program needed.”

Friendship House is one initiative of Community Renewal where a home is built in an underserved neighborhood containing a large community room, where a Community Renewal staff member and his or her family live. Friendship House helps neighbors rebuild the caring infrastructure of that neighborhood and fosters beneficial relationships by working with local children, youth, and adults to help meet their needs while bringing valuable social services to the neighborhood. The Friendship House’s community room will provide after-school activities and a safe place for kids in the Horace Mann and Pleasant Grove neighborhoods, GED (Hi-SET) programs, adult literacy classes, and other services that meet the needs of the neighborhood.

“The Friendship House will benefit not only the tribal families we work with in the neighborhood, but all the families who live within this community,” Drywater said.

Community Renewal Executive Director Brandon Dyer was thrilled to hear about The Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority’s vision for the Horace Mann and Pleasant Grove neighborhoods.

"The Absentee Shawnee Housing Authority, through Mrs. Drywater's leadership, wants to see these good, hard-working folks have what all of us want — a chance to live in a safe, caring community,” he said. “No matter where we live, we do this by investing in meaningful relationships with our neighbors.”

He said the Friendship House will be a presence of support to neighbors already working hard to achieve this goal.

“Community Renewal is proud to partner with ASHA through the Good Neighbor Project," he said.

Fundraising is currently underway, with hopes to break ground in 2018.