Valley nonprofit launches housing market analysis for adults with disabilities

Aug 20, 2022, 7:15 AM
First Place in Phoenix. (Photo by Scott Sandler)...
First Place in Phoenix. (Photo by Scott Sandler)
(Photo by Scott Sandler)

PHOENIX – Arizona disability advocates are launching a comprehensive market analysis of the metro Phoenix area to address the housing wants and needs of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The Greater Phoenix Housing Market Analysis is being conducted by First Place AZ, a nonprofit residential community for those with autism spectrum disorder and adults who struggle with a neurodivergent.

The survey will collect data, identify barriers and explore how different sectors — both public and private — can begin to address the housing needs of those with IDD, a population that can oftentimes be underserved.

“This is an invisible population within the housing crisis,” Maureen Casey, First Place Global Leadership Institute Director for The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center, explained to KTAR News 92.3 FM.

“There are at least 159,000 people in Arizona that have an IDD, an intellectual or developmental disability. That’s more than three times the capacity of the Diamondbacks’ stadium.”

Casey explained for the survey, they are looking for responses from 100 to 150 people with IDD and their caretakers, a crucial piece of this housing puzzle.

In 2015, AARP reported there were about 34.2 million caregivers for adults in the nation over age 5o. In 2020, that number increased to 41.8 million.

According to research from the First Place Global Leadership Institute approximately 77% of those with IDD in Arizona live with their aging families. Of that, about 27% live with a caregiver over the age of 60.

“[Those with IDD] are going to need housing and support in place as their families’ transition, perhaps to their own needs of nursing homes or if their families die,” Casey said.

Beyond just the need for independent housing options, First Place sees the desire for the independent lifestyle housing could create for those with IDD.

“One of our self-advocates has shared that he’s got a job, he’s able to drive a car and the next step for him is he wants to have a relationship, but he doesn’t feel he can have that relationship unless he has that home of his own,” Casey said.

The survey remains open through August 22 and is open to qualifying residents of Phoenix, Mesa, Tempe, Scottsdale or Glendale. Results from the study will be released in October.

To participate, visit online.

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Valley nonprofit launches housing market analysis for adults with disabilities