Backed by more than 25 years of research and 100+ collaborators, First Place AZ is a 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit positioned for transformational impact on how society approaches housing and community development for individuals with autism and/or intellectual/developmental disabilities. It represents a residential prototype that offers greater choice based on individual needs, preferences, strengths and interests. Our vision is to ensure housing, healthcare and community options are as bountiful for people with autism and other neurodiversities as they are for everyone else.
First Place–Phoenix, an 81,000-square-foot mixed-use development in the heart of midtown, opened to residents in July 2018 and includes three primary components:
FIRST PLACE APARTMENTS, a consumer-controlled property, comprise 63 studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments, providing access to various services and amenities with all the benefits of community-connected, independent living.
FIRST PLACE TRANSITION ACADEMY is a structured, two-year residential program designed for adults with autism that, with clinical services provided by the SARRC, encourages independent living in their homes and helps build crucial career-readiness skills while navigating the broader community. Within the supportive environment of First Place–Phoenix, participants can maximize their capacity to live more independently through the Learn4Independence® curriculum, individualized services and apartment-and community-living experiences.
FIRST PLACE GLOBAL LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE (GLI) serves as an international education and training center for professionals, support staff and medical personnel, as well as a robust site for research and advancements in public policy. The GLI hosts symposia each year, attracting national and global pioneers in the field. Attendees gather to explore opportunities for advancing a new wave of home and community solutions through replicable, sustainable models, and private, public, nonprofit and philanthropic collaboration. Focused on accessibility to more supportive housing and independent living options for individuals with autism and other neurodiversities, the GLI’s five centers employ a coordinated, interdisciplinary methodology to identify and solve complex issues, including poor quality of life, isolation, lack of supportive housing and suboptimal healthcare outcomes.
• Maricopa County IDA Center for Education, Training & Employment
• Make Waves Center for Community Development
• Colonel Harland Sanders Center for Applied Research
• Mulzet Center for Expression
• The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy
First Place collaborated with Autism Housing Network and Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy in the development of A Place in the World: Fueling Housing and Community Options for Individuals with Autism and other Neurodiversities. APITW is informed through data collection, research, think tanks and collaboration with various industry thought leaders. This 2020 landmark study establishes the guiding narrative and universal language AHN employs in its updated directory of which we are proud to be a part.