History and Milestones

Since 1972, Places for People (PfP) has served people who have the most serious mental illnesses in the St. Louis area. PfP was formed initially to provide housing and services for people who had been discharged from the State Psychiatric Hospital. Over the years, the agency expanded to address new needs, including chronic homelessness, substance abuse disorders, and medical disorders.

While PfP was growing, another agency, Community Alternatives, formed in 1995 with a focus on providing therapy and other programs for people who were not well served by mainstream providers. Community Alternatives specialized in assisting younger people, people who were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in addition to serious mental illness, and people who had experienced significant trauma.

In 2011, Places for People merged with Community Alternatives, with the goal of maximizing the benefits of both agencies and the vision of creating an agency with the most robust toolkit of recovery-focused service.


1971
Dr. Hilary Sandall and Mildred Dunn, R.N., both on the staff of St. Louis State Hospital, placed the first three patients with persistent mental illness in an apartment on Davis Street in South St. Louis.

1972
Places for People incorporates as the first independent living and supported housing program for people with serious mental illness in the state of Missouri and one of the select few in the country.

1975
Places for People opens the Club in a donated storefront named Desiderata in South St. Louis. The Club was the first Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center in the state of Missouri.

1983
West Pine facility is converted into a state-licensed Residential Care Facility—the first psychiatric group home in the St. Louis area.

1992
Places for People restructures its programs and services by moving to a Continuous Treatment Team approach, offering support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

1995
Community Alternatives forms as a limited liability corporation to address the needs of underserved populations that include young adults, people who are homeless and have a mental illness, people with a mental illness and HIV/AIDS, and people with both mental illness and substance abuse disorder.

1996
PfP focuses on serving people who are homeless and are struggling with mental illness and substance abuse.
PfP acquires and renovates an apartment building to provide emergency housing.

2001
PfP adopts an integrated treatment approach to serve people diagnosed with both a severe mental illness and substance abuse disorder.

2004
Community Alternatives incorporates as a non-profit organization.

PfP opens CJ’s Place, a facility that provides safe, securing housing with on-site support for people multiply diagnosed with a mental illness, addiction disorders, and/or HIV/AIDS.

2006
Community Alternatives begins providing the Incredible Years program, which is an evidence-based parenting program designed to assist the parents of young children who are at-risk for developing behavioral problems, or who have children who are already exhibiting signs of behavioral problems.

Community Alternatives begins providing mental health services to refugees who are survivors of torture and war trauma.

2009
Places for People partners with Family Care Health Centers as a provider of primary care services.

2011
Places for People and Community Alternatives merge, the first voluntary merger of mental health providers in Missouri.

Places at Page opens, providing 23 units of supported housing.

2013
The Places for People Board of Directors approves a new strategic plan.

West Pine Pharmacy opens a location at Places for People.

2015
Family Care Health Centers Site at Places for People

A satellite site of Family Care Health Centers opens at Places for People, providing primary care for PfP clients.