FAQs about The Shelter
Why does she stay?
There are as many reasons why someone stays in an abusive relationship as there are victims: love; belief in the batterer's promise to change; fear of loosing children, pets and property; financial constraints; isolation from family and friends; coming to believe all the negative things the abuser has said; beliefs such as "you marry for life"; expecting future threats to harm family, friends and pets will be carried-out as past threats were carried-out, etc.
That being said, the premises behind this question are examples of why domestic violence continues to exist today.
First, despite the inherent risks in doing so, (loss of children, pets and property, as well as physical retaliation by the abuser, including death), many victims do leave their abusers as evidenced by our existence.
Second, family violence, teen dating violence, domestic violence, elder abuse and related animal cruelty do not discriminate - domestic violence affects people of all ages, races and socioeconomic class.
Third, the fact that we tend to ask "Why does she stay?" instead of asking "Why does he batter?" or, on a larger scale, "Why does society allow battering to continue?," points to the need to change our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors regarding the acceptance of violence in daily living.
This is why The Shelter exists - to protect victims, to prevent abuse among future generations and to prevail over this social ill.
For an in-depth discussion on Why Does She Stay, read our six-part series.
Do you serve men?
Yes! The Shelter is here to serve all victims of family abuse, intimate partner violence, elder abuse and dating violence no matter their gender, age, race, socioeconomic class or even species (we do have an on-site kennel for pets). We serve men, (and accept them into our emergency shelter, the Beau Venturi Home), women and children affected by domestic abuse.
Additionally, we offer specific programs tailored to meet the needs of children, teens, adults, elders and special populations.
Where are you located?
The locations of The Shelter's program-related facilities are kept confidential for the safety of our program participants, volunteers and staff. We offer services in Naples, Immokalee and Bonita Springs, but serve all of Collier County, FL.
If you are in need of our services, please call:
Options Thrift Shoppe is located at 968 Second Ave. N., Naples, FL 34102
Naples Mailing Address: PO Box 10102, Naples FL 34101
Immokalee Mailing Address: PO Box 397, Immokalee FL 34143
If your locations are confidential, how do people find out about you?
Although our locations are confidential, we make every effort to let people know who we are and what we do.
We work with local medical professionals, hairstylists, veterinarians, the Collier County School District, Collier County Sheriff's Office, local police departments, religious organizations and civic clubs to ensure community leaders have our information to share with those in need.
Through our Speaker's Bureau, community presentations, media coverage, our website, two thrift stores and other venues, we raise awareness in the community so family, friends and coworkers can share what they know about us with loved ones.
Victims of abuse come to us through a concerned friend or family member; escorted by law enforcement; after calling our confidential 24-hour crisis line (239.775.1101); walking up to our facilities - even by taxi. Some come prepared with their "escape bag" while others arrive empty handed. For more information go to the Help for Myself page.
What do you do? Do you have services beyond emergency shelter?
The Shelter provides a wide range of programs and services, all confidential and offered free of charge.
Food, clothing, toiletries, school uniforms, laundry detergent, birthday gifts, shoes, bed linens, hair cuts and all the items you use in your home are provided to our residents at no cost. In addition to providing some $837,452 worth of direct assistance to residential and outreach program participants annually, we also provide a comprehensive set of programs and services, including (but not limited to): (click here for more information)
Are you available nights and weekends?
The Shelter's confidential 24-hour crisis line (239.775.1101) and emergency shelter (Beau Venturi Home) are accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call 911 if in immediate danger; call 239.775.1101 if you need to plan an escape.
Unauthorized persons are not permitted on the grounds for the safety of those in our residential shelter.
The Naples and Immokalee offices are staffed Monday through Friday only, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Advocates work to accommodate program participants' schedules. Please call for more information: 239.775.3862, Naples; 239.657.5700 Immokalee.
Options Thrift Shoppe, 968 Second Ave. N, is open Monday - Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
What is life like in the Beau Venturi Home emergency shelter?
Safe...comforting...life-transforming...but not easy. Similar to life in a college dorm, the emergency shelter features 13 individual bedrooms that can sleep up to 60 individuals (including cribs), four shared kitchens, two common living areas, a meditation room, teen room and children's library. Curfews are maintained and no guests are permitted on the grounds to ensure the safety of residents, volunteers and staff.
Program participants are free to come and go within the curfews - security at our state-of-the-art facility is designed to protect, not confine. Indoor and outdoor play areas allow children to relax and enjoy normal childhood activities. Enrichment programs help both children and adults learn life skills and provide opportunities to grow and socialize.
Bedrooms offer private baths, closets (no doors as a reminder this is not a permanent solution but a step on the path to peace) and trundle beds. Each bedroom doorway is painted a different color for individuality.
Individual families are always kept together in one bedroom. Two single adults may be housed together in one bedroom, depending on the number of residents in-shelter.
Kitchens are shared (also based on occupancy) and residents are responsible for selecting food from our pantry, cooking and cleaning up after themselves. They are also responsible for caring for their rooms, doing their own laundry, helping keep common areas clean and maintaining their work and/or school schedules. Many residents become fast-friends, sharing responsibilities and helping each other with chores and babysitting.
Our 'special needs suite' functions as an efficiency apartment for individuals too battered for community life; women with older male children; single men; men with children; or those with contagious illnesses.
When they arrive, often scared and tired, program participants are greeted by caring staff for 'in-take' and then move to their rooms where they are welcomed with a gift basket of basic necessities (adults), stuffed animals (children) and handmade quilts on their beds (items generously donated by caring individuals and organizations throughout the community).
Gracious local stylists donate their time and services in our BE Salon, providing free hair cuts and related services that help build confidence and self-esteem while saving the residents' funds for a new home, car, school, etc.
When ready, program participants shop for the items needed to rebuild their lives free from violence using free gift vouchers to our thrift store.
Our empowerment-based philosophy means that adults are responsible for their children and pets; everyone must clean-up after themselves, make their own meals, do their own chores and go to school or jobs. All needs, from toiletries and laundry soap to bed linens, school uniforms and food, are provided free of charge. Residents are encouraged to save for their own transportation, apartment/home and additional schooling.
Bicycles are provided, when available, to assist residents in getting to and from work, running errands and getting around town. To donate/Host a Drive for food, clothing, household goods, cleaning products, bicycles, books, etc., please call 239.775.3862, ext. 235.
School/job safety - do program participants work/kids go to school?
We encourage everyone to have as normal a life as possible while residing in our Beau Venturi Home. The goal is to empower individuals on their path to peace - meaning they work (find work) or go to school.
Whenever safe to do so, children remain at the school where they were going prior to moving into the shelter. School buses pick them up at The Shelter, or their parents take them (if they have transportation). If it's not safe for children to go to the same school, our close relationship with the Collier County School system allows us to place them in an area school to ensure their safety.
The same is true for adults - they continue working or going to school if it is safe for them to do so. Otherwise, we assist them in finding new local opportunities.
Again, the goal is to help children, women and men develop real-life skills so that they can return to a peaceful life. Staff assists with finding transportation to appointments, job interviews, etc., as needed.
The Shelter also offers on-site child care services for our working parents.
Do you provide medical care?
Our emergency shelter staff is CPR certified and trained in basic first aid, but The Shelter does not provide medical care. However, through an extensive referral service we link program participants to medical and legal professionals, other social service agencies, job opportunities and more. (Programs & Services)
How long can someone stay at The Shelter?
The average length of stay in the emergency shelter this past year was 29 days - although some individuals may stay one night while others may stay closer to 50 days.
Individuals who qualify for our Transitional Living Program can reside in the cottages for up to two years.
Is The Shelter the only domestic violence center in Naples, Florida?
Yes, The Shelter is the only domestic violence center in Naples and we are the only state certified center serving all of Collier County, FL - from Bonita Springs and Immokalee, to Marco Island, Everglades City, Naples and all points in between.
Are you a government agency?
No, The Shelter is a private 501 (c)3 nonprofit organization.
Where does your funding come from?
The Shelter's funding comes from a mix of monies generated by our thrift store, special events, private donations, foundations and grants, as well as state and federal grants. Click to see our Annual Reports.
We are the only state certified domestic violence center in Florida that does not receive county funding.
How many people do you serve?
Since 1989, we have served more than 65,887 individuals. This past fiscal year, we served 2,778 (unduplicated) children, women and men; sheltering 500 children and adults, as well as 53 pets.
Additionally, last fiscal year The Shelter:
How many employees do you have?
The Shelter currently has 56 full- and part-time employees, including interns, divided among our Naples campus, including the Beau Venturi Home (emergency shelter); Immokalee Outreach Office; Options Thrift Shoppe and Another Option Thrift Shoppe.
We rely extensively on some 315 volunteers to assist us in preventing abuse among future generations, protecting victims and creating social change to help prevail over family violence.
I never knew you existed – how long have you been around?
The Shelter started as a group of organized volunteers in 1986. In 1988, we began converting a Naples four-plex into an emergency shelter.
In 1991, The Shelter launched our first resale store, Options Thrift Shoppe, and continued to expand our programs and services. By 2000, our Immokalee Outreach program had been named a national model serving immigrant and migrant battered women; the Board had approved long-range plans to build a new shelter; and the search for land had begun.
Throughout the early 2000s, programs, services and fundraising efforts continued; and, in the fall of 2002, administration, counseling and residents moved into the current 30,000 square-foot facility.
Since that time, The Shelter has continued to expand programs and services to meet the ever changing needs of domestic violence victims and survivors.