First Place – Phoenix Opens

Organization ushers in new era of housing for special populations

First Place AZ, a Phoenix nonprofit, recently opened its 81,000-square-foot, $15,4 million First Place Phoenix, designed for adults with autism and other different abilities. Residents began moving into the four-story property in July, drawn to First Place for its focus on innovation and community building.

“After more than two decades of researching and dreaming, it is awe-inspiring to see First Place – Phoenix buzzing with the activities of our first 32 residents and24 employees,” says Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ founder, president and CEO. “I’m humbled by the support of countless elected officials, community and business leaders and family members who have walked with us on this journey of hopes and dreams toward greater independence for our loved ones.”

                                                           Residents wait for the light rail                                   

First Place – Phoenix is the first place outside of their family homes that many of the current residents have lived. Residents range in age from early 20s to mid-40s. Since they moved in, residents have been experiencing many “firsts”: first friendships, first time cooking on their own, first dates and first jobs. Even parents have had some firsts: Some have taken their first solo vacations.

Resident in the Arizona Cardinals Game Room

First Place – Phoenix features three main components:
Apartments 55 studio, one-, two- and four-bedroom units for lease that include a suite of independent living supports, a wide range of property amenities and a robust community life.
Transition Academy A two-year, tuition-based residential training program for participants, focused on independent living and developing interpersonal skills and career readiness.
Global Leadership Institute An international training center for professionals, direct service support providers and medical personnel, and a site for research and public-policy advancements.

The state-of-the-art building at Third St. and Catalina Ave. includes special security features, a 24/7 staff, sound barriers blocking out street sounds, nontoxic/low-VOC materials and special lighting to mitigate the sensory issues some people with autism experience. Apartments also include convenient “grab and go” stations where residents can charge their phones and store keys and other important items in an easy-to-remember location.

PHOTOS COURTESY FIRST PLACE

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