Neighborhood Under Construction For Those With Special Needs
In what developers say is a first, an entire neighborhood of brand-new homes is set to hit the market that is specifically designed for adults with developmental disabilities.
The development called Luna Azul is located in Phoenix. A model home and the neighborhood clubhouse and pool are slated to open in May, while the remainder of the 30 houses are on track to be completed by the end of the year.
What makes the collection of homes unique in the U.S. — and possibly around the world — is that residents will own their homes, offering a more permanent situation, according to those behind the project.
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“We worried about our daughter’s future, especially after we’re gone,” said Mark Roth, developer of Luna Azul, whose adult daughter has a developmental disability. “Property ownership endows Luna Azul residents with personal agency, a community of compatible neighbors and a sense of pride, while their families can rest assured that their loved ones are safe, engaged in life and cared for.”
With homes situated around a courtyard and regular community activities, Luna Azul was designed as a “pocket neighborhood” encouraging relationships between neighbors. The homeowners’ association will employ a full-time director and overnight staff to promote community engagement and safety, though residents will be expected to arrange their own support services.
The community of 1,100 to 1,900 square-foot homes is located near urban amenities and public transportation and is gated in order to provide a safe environment for residents, the developer indicated.
The Mediterranean-style houses all feature smart-home technology and are priced from the mid-$300,000s to the mid-$500,000s. Six of the homes are already under contract.
“Purchases will be conducted as with any other condominium home,” Roth said. “Because many with disabilities may be concerned about holding title themselves, parents may, for example, purchase the homes themselves or through a special needs trust. Residents may charge rent to roommates they’ve selected themselves, and bring along whatever financial supports they have.”
Anyone can purchase one of the two- or three-bedroom cottages in the 4
½-acre development — whether or not they have a disability — though the neighborhood is geared toward including and supporting those who do have special needs.
“Luna Azul is open to anyone who wants to wake up in an inclusive, inviting neighborhood where differences are not merely tolerated, but instead, anticipated and welcomed,” Roth said. “My daughter will always be invited to the neighborhood pool party.”