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CLA History

Community Living Alternatives incorporated in 1987 under the leadership of founder Dr.Susan Perlik and several strong advocates, with a mission of enhancing the quality of life for adults living with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

In 1989, four adults who had been living in institutions transitioned to life in the community: CLA was licensed by Virginia's Department of Mental Health Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services (now DBHDS, The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services). This four person home was the very first four bed Intermediate Care Facility in Virginia. Since that time, CLA has grown and currently operates ten group homes in Fairfax, Annandale, and Springfield, in addition to the original ICF, as well as supervised residential services in Arlington.

In 2001, the Board of Directors approved a change in housing policy in order to provide a long term affordable housing solution that was not subject to rental market volatility. Currently, most individuals receiving supportive services reside in homes sponsored by CLA from which they will only move when they choose to or when CLA can no longer meet their needs.