In a groundbreaking move that exemplifies the essence of inclusivity, PAH! Hiland Plaza has emerged as a beacon of progress. This unique community is set to revolutionize affordable housing for individuals in the Deaf, DeafBlind, Deaf+, and Hard of Hearing communities. Located along Central Ave in Albuquerque, New Mexico, this pioneering apartment complex officially opened its doors on October 18, 2023, with a mission to provide a comfortable and accessible haven for those with specific needs.
With a name that embodies a sense of exuberance and commitment, PAH! Hiland Plaza is not your ordinary housing development. It is a project that blends federal funding from HOME dollars allocated by HUD, project-based vouchers from the Albuquerque Housing Authority, and low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) from the State. This dynamic fusion of resources showcases a collaborative effort aimed at providing affordable housing that caters to the unique needs of its residents.
Behind this visionary project stands the Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership, in partnership with the Deaf Culture Center of New Mexico (DCCNM). Together, they have envisioned and brought to life an apartment complex like no other. Their focus is clear – to create a place that Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals can proudly call home, complete with employment opportunities and dedicated spaces for the Deaf Culture Center of New Mexico.
The heart of PAH! Hiland Plaza is a commitment to fostering an environment that alleviates the daily challenges faced by its residents. To achieve this, the building was thoughtfully designed with insights from a Deaf architect, ensuring that it is fully accessible and tailored to the needs of the Deaf community. The result is a space equipped with innovative features, such as strobe lights connected to doorbells and outlets designed for bed shakers, connected to the fire alarm. These enhancements are a testament to the desire to minimize frustration, confusion, and struggles within the home environment.
The Deaf Culture Center of New Mexico is a jewel within this complex, serving as an in-house resource center with staff who are fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). This invaluable resource center aligns perfectly with the project’s mission of providing support and understanding to its residents.
A host of Deaf-friendly features is integrated into PAH! Hiland Plaza, such as ASL-fluent staff, videophone secured entry, visual alerting fire alarms and doorbells in all apartments, and T-coil compatible induction loops in select locations. The lighting and paint colors are carefully selected to minimize eye stress, and the community spaces are designed with minimal visual barriers. Universal design principles with a Deaf focus underpin the entire project.
The architectural brilliance of Hartman & Majewski Design Group and the construction prowess of Jaynes Corp, with support from Green Insight, have brought this vision to life. Financing and funding were made possible through the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority, Raymond James, and PNC Bank.
This pioneering development offers 92 apartment units in one-, two-, and three-bedroom layouts, with a priority for Deaf, DeafBlind, and Hard of Hearing individuals. Additionally, it includes a community park and 23 affordable units set aside for those using housing vouchers from the Albuquerque Housing Authority.
PAH! Hiland Plaza is one of only a handful of such developments in the entire nation, marking a significant step forward in the quest for accessible, inclusive, and empowering housing for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing communities. With the promise of pre-leasing in the near future, it signifies a beacon of hope for individuals in search of a place to call home, a place that celebrates their unique needs and aspirations.
If you are interested in learning more, check out their website: https://www.pahhiland.com/