Leading and collaborating with the community to Prevent, Protect and Prevail over domestic violence and human trafficking through advocacy, empowerment and social change.
We envision a community free from domestic violence and human trafficking, where individuals and families can live in safety and peace.
The Shelter’s story began in May 1986, when the Collier County Spouse & Abuse Task Force noted a growing response to its Hotline & Rape Crisis Program. The group organized a meeting of volunteers to plan a domestic violence shelter. Despite community opposition to the location, The Shelter began converting an East Naples four-plex into an emergency shelter in 1988. Over the years, support for The Shelter’s mission has grown expeditiously as have its programs and services.
In 1991, The Shelter Options Shoppe opened, providing funding for Shelter operations as well as clothing and other items for Shelter residents. During the next three years, administrative offices moved and a part-time Children’s Advocate was hired, representing the first time targeted services were available to children of victims.
In 1997, the Immokalee Outreach Office opened and three years later, the program was named a national model, serving immigrant and migrant battered women.
In 2000, The Shelter’s Board approved long-range plans to build a new shelter and the search for sites began. Shelter programming welcomed the first “Hands Are for Helping” events, which took place in county parks. The program continues to be presented at Collier County Public Schools.
Throughout the early 2000’s, programs, services and fundraising efforts continued to expand proactively. In September 2002, administration and counseling services moved into the new Shelter facility and residents relocated to the new Beau Venturi Home, our 60-bed residential shelter, that October.
The years following have brought an additional expansion of programs in Naples, Bonita Springs and Immokalee. In 2005 and 2006, the Elder Abuse and Women of Means programs were added. In 2008, the Raising Gentle’men program was added to assist with outreach, challenging young men and boys’ views on traditional male stereotypes in an effort to stem the cycle of abuse.
Also in 2008, The Shelter built four Transitional Living Cottages to help qualified domestic abuse survivors move towards self-sufficiency under The Shelter’s supportive wing. Cottage number five was completed in 2013 and cottages 6 and 7 were completed in 2014.
In 2016, due to an increasing need for emergency shelter in Eastern Collier County, The Shelter announced plans to build the Shelly Stayer Shelter for Victims of Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence in Immokalee. A longtime supporter and Emeritus Trustee, Ms. Stayer’s $3 million lead gift launched the campaign to build a 15,000-square-foot, 32-bed shelter on five acres of property in Immokalee. Designed by Naples architect David Corban, the facility will feature three main areas: a section to accommodate the long-term therapeutic needs of victims of human trafficking; a section to shelter victims of domestic abuse; and a section dedicated to Immokalee outreach.
Today, some 67 full and part-time staff members provide services in Naples, Immokalee and Bonita Springs through residential and outreach services, as well as The Shelter Options Shoppe.