New Apartment Complex in Phoenix Helps Adults With Autism Live Independently

Stephen G. Dreiseszun, Viewpoint Photographers
Stephen G. Dreiseszun, Viewpoint Photographers / Stephen G. Dreiseszun, Viewpoint Photographers

The aspects of apartment life that are annoying to many residents—like thin walls and harsh fluorescent lighting—can be debilitating to people living with autism. First Place—Phoenix, a new apartment complex in Arizona's capital city, is the first housing facility of its kind to take such factors into consideration and build a comfortable living environment specifically for adults with autism, AZ Central reports.

Denise Resnik was inspired to found First Place after looking for a home where her son Matt, who has autism, could live independently as an adult. When she realized the place she was envisioning didn't exist, she decided to bring it into the real world herself.

The four-story, 81,000-square-foot building comprises 55 apartments and cost $15.4 million to open. Some features, like sound barriers that block street traffic, special lighting, and a staff that's on call 24/7, were put in place to cater to the needs and sensitivities of the building's residents. Others, like the Arizona Cardinals-themed game room and a communal kitchen on the first floor, are simply there to make First Place a fun place to live and build a sense of community among residents. In the actual apartments, tenants have access to their own modern kitchens as well as "grab and go" stations where they can charge their phones and deposit their keys in the same spot.

For $4000 a month, residents get their own apartment, utilities, access to the building's staff, and classes at GateWay Community College focused on transitioning them to independent, adult life. People wishing to waive the community college classes can sign up for the same apartment and amenities starting at $3300 a month for a two-bedroom.

First Place is currently home to 32 adults, ranging in age from their early twenties to mid-forties. After monitoring the project in Arizona, Resnik hopes to bring First Place complexes to different cities around the country.

[h/t AZ Central]