Exciting Research Emerging to Fuel Housing & Community Development for Neurodiverse Populations

The Autism Housing Network (AHN) was developed from a call for next steps outlined in the the first-ever study to focus on the housing challenges of adults with autism and other neurodiversities in 2009, Opening Doors: A Discussion of Residential Options for Adults Living with Autism and Related Disorders.

Over a decade later, we are collaborating with Arizona State University’s Morrison Institute for Public Policy, and First Place AZ and its Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy to take the next critical step with a sister study to Opening Doors titled A Place in the World.

While Opening Doors remains the foundational resource leading to the development of First Place–Phoenix and other properties, and while AHN has led to the launching of new housing communities across the country, there has been no research on scaling innovative models nationwide and measuring their impact. 

The major obstacle? Providers, housing developers and families do not speak the same language and struggle to navigate because of different experiences. Without the common understanding of a clear path forward, momentum is lost.

In the midst of the supportive housing crisis, spending scarce time and resources in trial-and-error scenarios adversely impacts residents, their families and investors and impedes the progress needed to meet demand.

What is A Place in the World?

A Place in the World will provide the foundational nomenclature for housing and service delivery models with the goal to further define market segments, establish best practices and guiding principles, and help drive crucial partnerships that address pressing needs resulting from the current housing crisis.

The study will serve as the definitive resource for the housing industry, scholars, direct service providers, policymakers, researchers and other stakeholders, driving the following actions:

  • Establish the universal language indispensable for innovation and the expansion of and investment in supportive housing developments throughout the U.S. and beyond.
  • Make it possible for housing developers and technology providers to better grasp the needs and nuances of this market and respond with innovative solutions and a range of price points that includes public and private funding sources.
  • Enable the collection, tracking and sharing of baseline and outcome data.
  • Facilitate major policy advances based on data—a key criteria—versus solely on ideology.

The study will be informed through data collection, research, think tanks and collaboration with various industry thought leaders, culminating in a report, collateral materials and videos.

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