Hubbard House to expand services for victims of domestic violence
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the month when the Barbara Ann Campbell Memorial Breakfast is scheduled each year in Jacksonville.
More than 500 people attended the 19th edition of the event Thursday to raise awareness of domestic violence and to raise funds for Hubbard House Inc.
The event was founded by former Mayor Jake Godbold, whose sister-in-law, the breakfast's namesake, was murdered by her husband in 1995 after 38 years of marriage.
When it opened in 1976, Hubbard House was the only domestic violence shelter in Florida. Last year, 509 women, 476 children and 11 men received shelter at Hubbard House and the agency provided outreach services for more than 5,000 people in Baker and Duval counties.
Hubbard House CEO Ellen Siler said the agency received a grant of more than $800,000 from the state, which, combined with private donations for a total of almost $1.3 million, will allow the facility to expand its residential shelter capacity by 30 beds, an increase of 35 percent.
Even with the expansion project, scheduled to begin in January, "It's sad that 86 beds are not enough," said Siler.
Most known for its emergency shelter for battered spouses and their children, Hubbard House also provides education and youth services, therapeutic childcare, batterers' intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education.
"We are grateful that the community recognizes the importance of our work," said Hubbard House board President Judy Zoller.
Siler said since last year's breakfast, Hubbard House received a four-star rating, the highest possible from the independent charity evaluator Charity Navigator. The ranking is based on governance, management, accountability and transparency, as well as the percentage of funds raised that go to programs and services compared to administrative and operating costs.
The top ranking was "no surprise to our local supporters, but it is nice to get national recognition," she said.