Apartments for the Autistic

by Tom Simplot

Nov 13, 2016

Autism touches all facets of our lives — from schools, to workplaces to housing. Children and adults should strive to understand more about autism and how it impacts those who live with it. Awareness about the everyday challenges that youth and adults face creates empathy, understanding and hopefully a more accepting and welcoming world.


For years, housing options outside the family home have been somewhat limited. Thanks to the heroic efforts of leaders like Denise Resnik, founder of SARRC, researchers and community leaders, SARRC is building First Place, the first residential property where adults with autism can live more independently and receive supportive training and services. Recently, Phoenix was recognized in a PBS News Hour story as a city that is leading the way for adults with autism because of programs like this. This housing development and the pilot apartment living program at 29 Palms in Phoenix stand as models for how apartments can offer healthy and safe living opportunities.


The demand for housing options for those with autism continues to grow. Nearly 1 in 68 children have been identified with autism spectrum disorder according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As these youth grow into adulthood, apartment living can be a positive place for them to develop and thrive.


The AMA has embraced the role the industry can play in helping residents and apartment management companies understand the impact autism has on our residential communities and offering more tools for education and awareness. Arizona Multihousing Association has developed a committee of members to help raise funds and awareness for nonprofits working on these issues. Our industry will continue to work to educate operators on how they can create more residential opportunities and support systems for adults with autism.


Correction: SARRC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting families impacted by autism, and was co-founded by First Place founder Denise Resnik. First Place is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building housing for adults with autism. They are sister organizations and work very closely together, but the housing indicated in this column is being developed by First Place, not SARRC.