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Divinity Friendship House at Vanderbilt

About Divinity Friendship House

The Divinity Friendship House at Vanderbilt emerged out of a desire to address the need for housing and support services for Nashville area adults living with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Co-founded in 2014 by Vanderbilt professor Jaco Hamman and Carolyn Naifeh, former Regional Director of the Pujols Family Foundation, Friendship House is an extension of the Nashville Intellectual and Development Disabilities Housing Group.

Divinity Friendship House

In summer 2015, the first Divinity Friendship House at Vanderbilt opened in Chestnut Hill, less than 10 minutes from the Vanderbilt University campus. In a Friendship House (FH), graduate students live with persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (Friends) in affordable housing. The model of Friendship House is built around the insights of Fr. Jean Vanier, the founder of the international L'Arche communities. The wisdom of a FH can be summarized as eating, celebrating and praying together. A second Friendship House opened in fall 2016.

Life Together

Residents of FH are asked to be good neighbors to friends and eat one communal meal a week. The community also participates in a weekly communal spiritual practice. Students are not responsible for the care of the friends, but they are asked to volunteer time to either the friends or a disability ministry/non-profit. A Resident Director acts as liaison between the friends, the students, their parents/guardians and the Nashville IDD Housing Group (NIDDHG).

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This YouTube video offers an inside look to the Friendship House experience.

Other articles and links about the Divinity Friendship House at Vanderbilt:

https://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/08/10/vanderbilt-divinity-partnership-addresses-affordable-housing-need/

http://www.tennessean.com/story/life/2016/05/25/friendship-house-walls-between-disabled-students-come-down/82398526/

Apply as a Student Resident

Interested in applying to live in the Divinity Friendship House? Download the application at https://divinity.vanderbilt.edu/student-life/NIDDHG_Application_StudentResidents.pdf!

Questions about the Divinity Friendship House at Vanderbilt may be directed to jaco.hamman@vanderbilt.edu.

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