Center for Accessible Living Announces Leadership Change

Center for Accessible Living Announces Leadership Change

Dear Friends of Center for Accessible Living:

      The Board of Directors at Center for Accessible Living (CAL) in Louisville have hired Susan D. Tharpe as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) effective June 8, 2020.  Susan succeeds Jan E. Day, who served in this role for more than 30 years and developed the center into the significant community resource it is today, currently operating offices in Louisville, Bowling Green and Murray, as well as remote workers across the state of Kentucky.  Jan announced her retirement in February, effective March 1, 2020.

      Susan has 14 years of experience at CAL, most recently serving as Associate Director.  The Board is certain Susan has the leadership and creativity to lead CAL through our community’s current challenges, as well as the innovation to meet future needs.  

     Established in Louisville in 1981, the Center for Accessible Living, a 501(c) (3) Independent Living Center, is a non-profit organization governed by a board with a majority (51% or more) of people with disabilities.  The Mission of the Center for Accessible Living is to assist individuals with disabilities who seek to live independently.  This is achieved by assisting in providing an environment that supports the individual with a disability in attaining independent living and the right to choose his/her personal degree of independence.  Its mission requires CAL to provide information, advocacy and services that create opportunities for people with disabilities (consumers) to live independently.  Since its inception, CAL has played a pioneering role in advocating for architectural and programmatic changes to make Kentucky more accessible for people with disabilities.

     Independent living allows individuals with disabilities the right and the opportunity to make decisions, have control over, and responsibility for their own lives.  The Center promotes equal access and independent status for individuals with disabilities through community awareness, involvement, and community support for the rights of all people with disabilities.  

     In 1979, Consensus, Inc. completed a demographic and needs assessment study of physically disabled people in Jefferson County Kentucky (now Louisville Metro) — one of the first of its kind in the country. In that study, people with disabilities identified housing issues as the number one unmet need. The Center for Accessible Living, Inc. grew out of these findings and began operations January 1981 as a housing resource program for people with disabilities, by people with disabilities with a $48,600 grant from City of Louisville’s Community Development Cabinet.  Soon CAL realized the problem of housing is interrelated with other problems people with disabilities face when trying to secure housing: employment (to pay for housing), transportation (to get to the job), attendant services (assistance to get dressed to go to the job), and peer counseling (to address personal issues) to name a few.

     To address these needs CAL sought funds to expand the Center into a comprehensive Independent Living Center. In October 1981, CAL received a $200,000 grant from the US Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the Center became a full-fledged independent living center.  CAL began providing housing information, peer counseling, self-advocacy, information and referral, and independent living skills.  

     We cannot thank Jan enough for her dedication, passion, enthusiasm and motivation over her career. Her commitment to helping others and the disability community is unsurpassed. Please join us in thanking Jan for all her accomplishments in this role and congratulate her on her new endeavors in retirement. 

     CAL is committed to serving individuals with disabilities and their families in Kentucky, especially during these difficult times. If you have any questions about how we can help, please do not hesitate to reach out using the contact information here:


Jeremy Randall

President, CAL Board of Directors

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