About Us
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About Us


Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF) is an independent living center, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides advocacy programs and services for people with disabilities primarily residing within the 50 zip codes of Los Angeles County covering south and central Los Angeles and neighboring communities.

CALIF’s advocacy work ranges from, but not limited to, Systems Change Advocacy, Housing Advocacy & Olmstead Housing Development, Individual & Benefits advocacy, Personal Assistance Services, Information & Referral Services, Peer Counseling and Independent Living Skills Training, Assistive Technology, Deinstitutionalization/Transition Program, Employment Services, community outreach and networking among the diverse communities of Los Angeles, government and private agencies and grassroots organizations within the community.

CALIF also provide various education and training and volunteer opportunities to the young and older population, especially of the disability community through the various collaborating agencies like Department of Rehabilitation (DOR), National Asian Center for Aging (NAPCA) and Volunteer Center of Los Angeles, among others. Having over 23 years of existence as an independent living center since its foundation in 2001, CALIF continues to proactively explore the various opportunities to grow and expand its programs and services through aggressive grant writing and effective programs and services implementation and purposeful advocacy work.

CALIF Vision & Mission


In the spirit of unity, collaboration and respect for the human dignity and civil rights of all people, CALIF (Communities Actively Living Independent & Free) envisions a culturally diverse independent living center designed to empower the Disability Community.


  • To achieve greater input, participation and control over policies and services especially those for people with disabilities, including those that exclude them.
  • To address discrimination wherever it exists.
  • To encourage the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in mainstream activities that enhance the positive image and experience of disability.
  • To empower people with disabilities by encouraging ongoing education and a broad knowledge of the history and heritage of the Disability Movement.
  • To provide the Disability Community with the following seven core services:
    • Systems Change Advocacy
    • Housing Advocacy
    • Individual and Benefits Advocacy
    • Personal Assistance Services Advocacy
    • Information and Referral
    • Peer Counseling
    • Independent Living Skills Training with Assistive Technology (AT) as a special project.
    • Employment Services Program
    • Transition Services


We are starting a regular section on our website and Facebook page, we are calling, “CALIF’s LA Tripping” to feature people with disabilities among our Board, Staff, Consumers and people in the community who have very interesting things and activities, tidbits to share as an attempt to spice up our website and to reflect to the world both the small and big things we are involved in, the things that interest us and that capture our imagination. If you have things to share that can entertain, uplift, inspire or just make others laugh and appreciate the disability experience more, let us know so we can feature you. Thank you.

George Layton - CALIF Consumer

February, Black History Month, we are featuring George Layton, CALIF Volunteer and Consumer. George is a Jack of all trades—a musician (he loves to play the guitar, a church pastor, an advocate, an athlete (he plays pool) a brother, an uncle, a friend to a lot of people. He went LA Tripping in January at the annual convention of the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). Wikipedia describes the NAMM Show as the world’s largest trade-only event for the music products industry. [2] It is held every January in Anaheim, California, USA at the Anaheim Convention Center. At the NAMM convention in January 2014, George ran into an old friend Joe Hardy, a most notable drummer who is an amputee on both legs. Joe had his friends build him a complete drum set up he could operate with only his hands.

Joe Hardy on the drums

An interview with Joe Hardy

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