my information

--- Issued August 15, 2013

This is the year for birthdays -- the anniversary of the Housing Authority of the City of Erie, which turns 75, and the anniversary of the opening of Friendship Apartments, which turns 40.

About 90 residents of Friendship Apartments celebrated their building's birthday on Wednesday, August 14, with food, entertainment by the Hilbrerick Trio (led by Friendship resident Adrian Beliveau) and presentations of recognition by Authority Director John E. Horan.

Recognized for living at the development for more than 20 years were Mary L. McGowan, Virginia A. Holmes, Dorothy J. Griffin, Alan G. Headley, Nadezhda P. Neboga, Patricia B. Haley, Elvira E. Henderson, and Brian L. Stamper.

Of the above, Mary McGowan has resided at Friendship the longest.  At 87 years of age, she moved into the development in January 1986, living at Friendship for more than 27 years. Horan noted that Mary still gets together with her sister for tea. She is an ordained minister and has been preaching for over 40 years.

Executive Director John E. Horan and Anna Maria Kirk, manager of Friendship Apartments, with Mary McGowan who has resided at Friendship the longest, since January 1986.

Horan also recognized the seven other tenants who have lived at Friendship for more than 20 years, noting something special about each one:

Virginia Holmes moved in September 17, 1990. Virginia has family that visits her all the time.  She does bird calls. She loves to sing and do crafts.

Dorothy Griffin moved in April 15, 1991. She participates in all social and resident council functions. She was on the planning committee for the twentieth anniversary celebration. Dorothy is not with us tonight because she is building up her strength at Health South in order to reside here for another 20 years.

Alan Headley moved in October 3, 1991. He is a veteran, serving in the Air Force. He looks forward to seeing his children and grandchildren. He always has a joke or something funny to say.

Brian Stamper – Moved into Friendship Apartments on March 3, 1992 and moved out on March 1, 2002. He missed living here so much that he moved back in a few months later and is still living here. Brian is a huge Chicago Cubs and Bears fan.

Nadezhda Neboga moved into Friendship Apartments on April 7, 1993. Nadezhda is a poet and writer. She continues to have articles published in Christian magazines. Nadezhda is loving and giving and lives a simple gracious life. She is a lover of animals. There were all types of animals in the Neboga household.

Patricia Haley came to Friendship Apartments on June 23, 1993. Pat volunteers at NAMI and runs a café there in her spare time.

Elvira Henderson moved into Friendship on August 3, 1993. She is well respected by her fellow tenants and the staff. Elvira participates in all building functions.



Horan with Brian Stamper, the first non-elder resident admitted to Friendship Apartments in 1992.


The Hilbrich Trio, with Adrian Beliveau, Friendship resident and president of Friendship Apartments Tenant Council, at the keyboard.


Friendship resident Bill Varrato, designer of the artwork for the Friendship 40th, below,  that was used for the commemorative note cards provided to each resident at the celebration. 

Friendship Apartments was developed under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Leased Housing Program. The original owner was the Erie Leased Housing Corporation, a private non-profit corporation created by the Housing Authority in 1971. The Erie Leased Housing board members were Reverend Gordon P. Irvine, Charles B. Killinger, Luther R. Manus, James G. Schleicher, William Irwin Arbuckle II, Catherine A. Johnson, and Bernard Harkins.

The first residents moved into the Friendship Apartment building on September 12, 1973.

Authority board members in September 1973 were Donald J. Schell, Ellen Curry, Attorney J. Leonard Ostrow and James R. McLaughlin. Joseph A. Schmid was the Executive Director.

The Friendship builder was U. S. Constructors and Consultants, Inc., Cleveland, Ohio; the architect was Max Koerper and Associates, also of Cleveland.

The ownership of Friendship was transferred to the Housing Authority in 1980. The Authority has been responsible for management of Friendship since it opened in 1973.

Friendship cost $3,890,000 to build in 1973. The building was financed with a first mortgage bond bearing a 5 5/8% interest rate. The mortgage was paid off on August 1, 1993, with funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Throughout the years, the Authority has invested approximately $6 million to maintain and modernize Friendship. Today, the cost to build a 200-unit apartment building like Friendship would exceed $20 million