March is Women’s History Month; a time to reflect on the accomplishments of women and honor their role in helping to shape our nation and community’s history and future.
This 33-year celebration of women began in 1978 in Sonoma County, California as “Women’s History Week”. In 1987, Congress expanded the week-long celebration to a month, and March was declared Women’s History Month. This year Hubbard House, the domestic violence center serving Duval and Baker counties, wants to take Women’s History Month as a chance to celebrate the women who have made strides against domestic violence in our community.
Hubbard House’s beginnings came on a mild Sunday afternoon in 1976, over 35 years ago. Ellen Spangler and a few of her close friends were bicycling in downtown Jacksonville. As they bicycled into an old residential section called Springfield, Ellen suddenly stopped and cried, “This is it! She had found a haven of refuge on that small street.
That refuge became the first location for Hubbard House. The house was purchased by The Jacksonville Women’s Movement (JWM) and named Hubbard House for the street where it was located. Soon after, as Ellen had intended, this house would serve as a place of refuge, a shelter for abused women and their children. Hubbard House became the first battered women’s shelter in the Southeast and the 13th in the United States.
In just two years, due to increasing needs, the JWM bought a larger house and refurbished it with help from the citizens of Jacksonville. For the 10 years following the opening of Hubbard House, due to a small staff and lack of funding, it was a constant struggle to keep the project alive. Seeing the hundreds of battered women and their children seeking shelter from their violent homes, the JWM realized that it was an absolute necessity to keep the shelter open.
And open it remained. Hubbard House and its services have continued to grow. In 1997, Hubbard House moved to a new, larger location. Hubbard House now serves victims of domestic violence, women, children and men, in Duval and Baker counties. Hubbard House currently shelters approximately 1,000 victims and their families a year, however, its programs have expanded well beyond its original emergency shelter. The agency now provides extensive outreach services, school-based education, batterers’ intervention programs and court advocacy for more than 5,000 people a year.
The dream of a couple of women in 1976 who had just $4,000 and great faith in the future has become a valued resource for our community. Hubbard House continues to write its 35-year history in parallel with the celebration of women which began on another coast.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House domestic violence hotline at 1-800-500-1119 or 904-354-3114.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE
Founded as the first domestic violence shelter in Florida in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children, and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic childcare, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.