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Who We Are

How We Started

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 in addition to the original ICF, currently provides supports and residential services in 10 licensed group homes as well as  community engagement, community coaching and in home supports to individuals in their own homes throughout Northern Virginia.

It is the goal of the staff and the Board of Directors to provide all individuals with the opportunity to age in place or within the continuum of services CLA provides.  


Our Impact: Year to Year

  • Years in Operation


  • Number of Individuals Currently Supported


  • Number of Community Engagement hours provided in 2021


  • Number of Community Engagement Hours provided in 2022


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