Q: What is the vision behind Luna Azul?
A: My teenage daughter Emma has a developmental disability. When she leaves our home, I want her to live in a permanent, safe and supportive neighborhood; one where she can walk alone day or night, to a friend’s home or with her dog, among both higher and lower functioning neighbors who know and look out for one another. I did not want her captive to rent increases, dependent on non-accountable caregivers and forced to live with roommates chosen for her. I want her to enjoy a rich full life with friends and to participate in neighborhood and social events. I seek to create a community where like-minded adults and their friends and families feel safe, welcome and understood rather than just pitied or tolerated.
Q: Who are the intended residents?
A: Luna Azul is designed to be suitable for everyone, especially those who may have all sorts of life limitations, including those with intellectual, developmental, acquired and physical disabilities. We welcome residents of all ages, abilities and disabilities, specifically including those with autism, Downs Syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome and other spectrum disorders, veterans with acquired disabilities, anyone with stroke, head injury or mobility issues, retirees and the elderly, and anyone else wanting to live safely in a community of like-minded neighbors.
Q: Where is it located?
A: Luna Azul is being built on the corner of 16th Street and Wahalla Lane, just South of Beardsley Road, off the Loop 101 freeway in Phoenix.
Q: How are these homes being priced?
A: We estimate our 2- and 3-bedroom cottage homes will be priced from the high $200Ks to high $400Ks.
Q: What are the unit plans and sizes being offered?
A: There will be two 2-bedroom models, and two 3-bedroom models, ranging in size from about 1,100 square feet to nearly 1,700 square feet.
Q: What makes Luna Azul different from other communities for adults with disabilities?
A: First, by clustering neighboring houses around a shared garden courtyard, a pocket neighborhood provides the setting for neighbors to develop meaningful relationships beyond family and housemates. It is the physical basis for creating community with surrounding neighbors. Second, title to each cottage is sold outright, creating a permanent, safe and cost-effective housing solution for individuals and families with a wide array of abilities and disabilities.
Q: You used the term ‘Pocket Neighborhood.’ What is that concept all about?
A: Luna Azul is designed chiefly by Ross Chapin, the Washington state-based architect perhaps most famous for designing to help create community. In many housing developments, family life is focused inside the home within walled backyards. But in a pocket neighborhood, there is a collective sense of ownership that extends beyond the front yard gates and into the shared commons. The active rooms of our cottages, including front porches, face the commons instead of turning inward, and their small scale has residents spilling out to the porch, where it’s easy to engage in conversations with neighbors and passersby. These casual conversations can foster the development of caring relationships that help build a meaningful sense of community.
Q: What are some of the unique features Luna Azul has that are important to the community?
A: Our pocket neighborhood houses up to 75 residents in thirty 2- and 3-bedroom fully functional and independent urban cottages, built around a large clubhouse. With a secured entry, 24/7 on-site staffing and a traffic-free environment, Luna Azul’s design will allow for spontaneity and encourages connections that lay the foundation for caring relationships and neighborly assistance when a fellow resident needs a hand.
Q: Why for-sale housing?
A: Dominant themes among adults with disabilities are their desires for permanency, independence and self-determination. To be able to chose where, how and with whom they live, while receiving the services they need. We believe home ownership at Luna Azul offers families and their adults with disabilities the greatest and most reliable degree of choice and freedom.
Q: Are there more of these communities being built?
A: Presently, Luna Azul is the only community of it’s kind, but we’re confident there will be more to come.
Q: What about support services?
- Through the Home Owners’ Association, the community organizes and funds social and recreational activities; provide 24-hour community staffing; maintains the common areas; and provides other services meeting the common needs of community residents. Activities will not be pre-determined for residents, but instead will be designed and revised in ongoing collaboration with the HOA, residents and their families.
- Each family is responsible for securing the support services required by their adult family member. Families will also be responsible for furnishing, maintaining and securing their homes.
- Support services principally will be provided to individual residents via qualified service providers funded by the State of Arizona under the ALTCS program for developmentally disabled adults.
Q: What is an IDLA?
A: Group homes may not be right for everyone. In Arizona, like in many other states, persons qualified to receive state support may choose to live in a setting owned or leased by the resident (either alone or with roommates), or by their family, trust or guardian, and receive in-home support there. These supported living or supported housing services go by different names in different states. In Arizona, this arrangement is called an Individually Designed Living Arrangement (IDLA). The IDLA may be a good solution for clients seeking an alternative to group homes. Qualified vendors, chosen by the resident(s) and often compensated by the State, provide in-home services that are customized based on the needs of the residents in accordance with the client’s Individual Service Plan (ISP). Vendors may assist in; transportation, assistance with creating weekly menus, shopping, cooking, household care, leisure and community activities, emotional and health support, personal budgeting, banking, and more.
Q: Why was Arizona chosen for this ground-breaking project?
A: Coupled with its fantastic climate, Arizona’s relatively low land and construction costs help keep cottages affordable and attractive to both natives and retirees. Moreover, for the fifth year in a row Arizona ranked #1 in the nation for providing the best Medicaid service system for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Q: How has the community around the planned Luna Azul reacted to this unique project?
A: Neighbors have been very supportive
Q: When will Luna Azul be completed?
A: We anticipate breaking ground this summer (2017), and finished homes will be available in early 2018