First Place AZ to Conduct Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis

First Place® AZ, an Arizona nonprofit that empowers people with autism and other neurodiversities to thrive, is launching a comprehensive market analysis to determine the housing needs and preferences of adults with autism and other intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD) in Phoenix.

The Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis , conducted by the First Place Global Leadership Institute Center for Real Estate & Community Development, is the first-ever study to comprehensively address the housing needs of adults living with autism and I/DD. The analysis will collect market data, identify barriers and explore how public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors can work together to respond to market demand.

Adults with autism and other I/DD face a critical shortage of housing options and access to supports they need to thrive. In 2021, the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System reported a 54.2 percent increase in the number of individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis served by their non-Arizona Long-Term Care System health plans. This compares to a 4.3 percent increase of all other members and recognizes the rapidly increasing population of children diagnosed with autism: one in 44 today compared to one in 2,500 30 years ago. The result is a burgeoning population of adults living with autism.

AARP reported that the number of U.S. caregivers for adults over 50 increased from 34.2 million in 2015 to 41.8 million in 2020. An increase since 2015 in both health and functional needs of older adults also correlates with the aging population.

“Among the looming questions for parents like me is, ‘Where will my loved one live, who will care for them and how will they thrive when I’m no longer here?’” said Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ founder, president/CEO and mother of an adult son with autism. “Through the First Place Global Leadership Institute, we aim to make supportive housing options more accessible, affordable and attainable. The Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis will provide insights into what members of this population need and want and help us design a blueprint for making more housing options a reality.”

First Place AZ is forming a leadership advisory group to oversee the research analysis conducted through online surveys taken from Aug. 4 through 22. Individuals with autism and I/DD and their family members are invited to participate. Community and civic leaders and housing analysts will also weigh in.

Results will be presented at the 11th First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium in October. These symposia bring together pioneering leaders from across the U.S. and around the world who are focused on advancing a new generation of housing and community options.

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About Julie Coleman

Julie Coleman is a contributing writer for Frontdoors Media. She is Principal of Julie Coleman Consulting, providing strategic philanthropy consulting services for individuals, families, businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations.
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