About

First Place Leadership Institute Symposium

This eighth semi-annual symposium is focused on developing a broader marketplace of housing and community through shared language, promising properties, tools and data needed to create more places while informing supportive policy advancements.

Denise D. Resnik, First Place® AZ Founder and President/CEO, Desiree Kameka, Autism Housing Network Director and Coalition for Community Choice National Coordinator, and Arizona State University Morrison Institute for Public Policy’s Director Andrea Whitsett and Research Analyst Chrissie Bausch for a deep dive into A Place in the World.

Get a firsthand look at this long-awaited report with foundational nomenclature for housing and service delivery models further defining market segments, establishing best practices and guiding principles, and helping drive crucial partnerships that address pressing needs resulting from the current housing crisis.
A Place in the World Logo

"Mark this point in history as the time we ignited a more hopeful generation of options for individuals with autism and other I/DD and their families. A diagnosis need not stand in the way of homes, friends, jobs and supportive communities."


Denise D. Resnik, First Place AZ Founder & President/CEO
Desiree Kameka, Autism Housing Network Director

In Collaboration with

The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Center for Public Policy
Autism Housing Network
ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy
ASU Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions

Day 1: A Place in the World Briefing

Wednesday, October 21
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (PT)

A Place in the World: Fueling Housing & Community Development Options for Individuals with Autism and Neurodiverse Populations

  • Introduction & Welcome: Developing a new generation of housing options for people with autism and neurodiversities

  • Shortcomings & Gaps in the System: What’s standing in the way of significant progress?

  • Making the Case: Economic, community and healthcare perspectives

  • Research Approach: Essential strategies that bridge diverse solutions for addressing the national housing crisis


  • Speaking the Same Language: New narrative for housing for special populations, informing a marketplace that speaks the same language

  • Better Data, Better Policy: Collecting data on what works and needs to work better informing future developments and advancing supportive public policy

Day 2: Getting to Work—Together

Thursday, October 22
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (PT)

Working together to ensure people with autism and neurodiversities have more options and opportunities to find their place in the world.

  • Getting to Work: What does that mean to you and your community?

  • History of First Place: Dreaming big, 20-year process that continues

  • Breakout Session #1: Defining Your Market - Improve outcomes by better matching appropriate housing based on needs and preferences versus diagnosis

  • Design Approach: Recognizing how good design is good for everyone—like curb cuts, diversity and so much more


  • Breakout Session #2: Promising Practices - Learn from pioneering leaders across the country, align your interests and get where you want to go faster, smarter and with support


  • Defining Your Work: Diverse solutions addressing the local and national housing crisis


  • Breakout Session #3: Roll Up Your Sleeves - Worksheets that help define how you are moving the needle on options and outcomes


  • What's Next? Ensuring housing and community options are as bountiful for people with autism and other neurodiversities as they are for everyone else

Symposium Presenters

Denise D. Resnik

Founder & President/CEO
First Place AZ

“Housing and community options for special populations are today where the senior housing industry started 50 years ago. We still have much to do to create a marketplace of options, recognizing that, like age, diagnosis alone does not determine an individual’s home needs or preferences.”

Learn more about Denise.

Desiree Kameka

Director
Autism Housing Network

"For millions of adults with autism, 'the next empty bed' should not be the only option. By bridging innovation across different industries, we can create an array of neuro-inclusive housing opportunities that benefit everyone in communities across the country."

Learn more about Desiree.

Amy Pawlowski

Executive Director
UnitedHealthcare Complex Care Programs Community Plan

"Helping individuals with a range of different abilities live the healthiest, happiest, most integrated lives possible drives me every day. I’m excited to be a part of advancing the healthcare delivery system to work better for everyone."

Learn more about Amy.

Juan Salgado

Chief Executive Officer
Phoenix IDA/Phoenix Community Development & Investment Corporation

“Building communities that provide housing for all members of our diverse population is part of our mission. We are pleased to provide support for such a groundbreaking study and look forward to its results.”

Learn more about Juan.

Andrea Whitsett

Director
ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy

"We want 'A Place in the World' to inform the decision-making happening in the community and at the same time inspire future scholars who select this type of research for their career paths.”

Learn more about Andrea.

Chrissie Bausch

Research Analyst
ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy

"As with any complex issue, valid, nuanced data is needed to effectively respond to the housing demand of adults with neurodiversities—and there is still so much to learn."

Learn more about Chrissie.

Pooja Paode

Research Assistant, Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University
Fellow, Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation Center for Public Policy at the First Place Global Leadership Institute

“There is not just a housing gap, but a legitimate housing crisis facing adults with autism and other cognitive disabilities. Distinct policy actions—and inaction—influence how we understand and measure the adequacy of housing and services for neurodiverse adults."

Learn more about Pooja.

Jim Whittaker

President/CEO
The Arc Jacksonville

“Wouldn’t it be really cool if we could develop a community that focused more on independent, semi-independent living in an apartment sort of setting where individuals would control their own space, make choices and also have staff supports...?”

Learn more about Jim.

Tom Toronto

President
Bergen County's United Way

“Affordable housing, or the lack thereof, is the biggest issue... The only way to address that, we felt, was not to study it, but to increase the supply of homes that people could afford.”

Learn more about Tom.

Mike Duffy

Senior Associate
Project Design Architect, RSP Architects

“Good design for autism is just good design. It's not that different from other design processes. We just need to add in a few more layers.”

Learn more about Mike.

Register Today!