A dream of housing that helps adults with autism live independently is coming true in Phoenix, Arizona, where First Place offers supportive housing and training for adults with autism and Down syndrome or who are neurodivergent. William Hendrey, diagnosed with autism as a child, was one of the first residents in the two-year First Place Transition Academy, which teaches life skills. Since graduating, he has moved to Spectrum Courtyard and found a job shredding documents. Denise Resnik, whose son is autistic, co-founded Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in 1997 and then launched First Place in 2012. The residential building opened in 2018. “Without housing options, this population lives with family members until crises force rushed placements or even homelessness,” says Resnik.

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