Arizona can become a national leader in assisted living innovation, maintains the Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America, but it’ll take “a common-sense regulatory framework and a responsible legislative environment,” according to the group’s annual industry economic impact report.

Assisted living is a growing industry in the state, presenting opportunities for providers and employees, according to the organization. Potential staff members and residents are attracted by the state’s climate and stable cost of living, AZ ALFA says. 

The industry already employs more than 18,000 people in the state, with wages totaling more than $470 million in 2014, according to the report. The report also cites figures from the AARP Public Policy Assisted Living and Residential Care in the States in 2010, which found 1,829 facilities in the state with a total of 28,114 beds.

“Assuming a conservative 3% growth in available beds in 2025 and 2035, the economic strength and impact of his industry in Arizona is poised for continued expansion,” notes the report, which estimates the industry’s current impact on the state’s economy at more than $1 billion.