Sign Up for Our Newsletter

First Place AZ Breaks Ground

First Place AZ Breaks Ground on 55 Apartments, Residential Training Program and National Leadership Institute in Phoenix

First Place®AZ broke ground recently on First Place-Phoenix, a new $15 million residential property for adults with autism and different abilities with a one-of-a-kind approach to combining apartments, a residential training program and a national leadership institute to advance more independent and community integrated living options.

First Place AZ is a 501(c)3 non-profit working hard to ensure that housing options for people with autism and other special abilities are as bountiful as they are for everyone else. First Place-Phoenix, an 81,000-square-foot property, is located in the heart of the urban area at 3001 N. Third Street in Phoenix.

Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ founder, has been contemplating new home options for years. Her 25-year-old son, Matt, has autism.

“First Place is the result of collective and cumulative impact. For 20 years, we have built a supportive community, which has set the stage for First Place. For most of those years, we’ve been researching, planning, collaborating and dreaming with partners across the state and North America,” said Resnik. “Together, we are raising the bar on available residential, training and employment opportunities, with plans to replicate the First Place model and license our programs and curriculum.”

“While First Place represents many things, the most important is that it will be home for the people who live there, including our son Matt, and provide more families with peace of mind,” added Resnik.

First Place-Phoenix will feature three main components:

First Place Apartments: 55 studio, one-, two- and four-bedroom units for lease by residents, supported by a suite of independent living services and amenities

First Place Transition Academy: A two-year, tuition-based residential training program for participants focused on independent living skills, career readiness and interpersonal relations

First Place Global Leadership Institute: A national training center for professionals, direct service support providers and medical personnel, a robust site for research and public policy advancements

A $21.3 million comprehensive capital campaign continues; $15 million is dedicated to the development of First Place-Phoenix. The campaign represents charitable, private and public sources and also includes start-up operational funding, and fellowships for Teach For America alumni and Arizona State University doctoral and post-doc students. Early funding made the current First Place Transition Academy beta site possible, along with its collaboration with the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), which serves as the Academy’s operating partner.

Share our story. Get involved. Donate.