In 1976, a task force was formed to study the housing needs of women in Northwest Florida. From that study, it was apparent there was no housing available for victims of spouse abuse and their children. To address that need the Task Force on Spouse Abuse was formed under the guidance of the YWCA. In June 1979, the Spouse Abuse Task Force became the Favor (Family Anti-Violence in Organized Response) House Advisory Council, a program of the YWCA. During that year, funding became available from the Marriage License Trust Fund. FavorHouse was the designated program recipient for funds in District I. Because of growth and expanded services, the YWCA felt it could not accept the responsibility of a growing program. Consequently in 1980, the FavorHouse Advisory Council became independent of the YWCA and incorporated as FavorHouse of Northwest Florida, Inc., and a Florida not-for-profit corporation.
Since 1980, the agency has relocated the shelter twice, each time adding more beds and more rooms. An expansive project, which included four bedrooms and two baths, was completed in March 1999. The Escambia emergency shelter capacity is 50 beds with a children’s playroom and a children’s counseling room.
In November 1993, the Board completed construction of a new counseling center. The center encompasses 2400 square feet and provides facilities for board meetings, victim’s programs counseling, the batterer’s intervention program, community education and professional seminars.
May 22, 1999 the counseling center was destroyed by a fire, which started in the outside weather head as it entered the exterior power supply. July 1999, the Board commenced restoration of the center. Plans to expand the counseling center by adding an additional 750 square feet of space was accelerated to match the restoration project. In December 1999, we moved into our restored and expanded counseling center, with two new offices and an additional classroom, with seating capacity for 20. The classroom is used for women’s education classes, small groups, workshops and committee meetings.
October 2000, the Board purchased 4.5 acres with an existing residence of 3,000 square feet. June 6, 2001 the facility was certified as a 21-bed shelter for Santa Rosa County. January 2002 the shelter debt was paid in full.
June 2006 Escambia Shelter renovation from Hurricane Ivan was completed.
January 2007 renovation and upgrade of Santa Rosa Shelter was completed. January 2007 commenced plans for renovation and expansion of our transitional home.
January 2009 the Santa Rosa County outreach facility was destroyed by a fire located in the Milton Historical District that destroyed one city block. Victim services continued in loaned facilities while the agency was in transition. The center was expanded in size and relocated to a modern commercial plaza in Milton.
FavorHouse is the certified domestic violence center for Escambia and Santa Rosa counties of District I. This area is commonly known as the Northwest Florida Panhandle. The composition of the Panhandle is rural, urban and coastal, hence a diversity of lifestyles which includes military, manufacturing, tourism, retail, fishing, industry and agriculture.
May of 2005 FavorHouse of Northwest Florida, Inc. celebrated 25years of service to the community. FavorHouse hosted our First White Rose luncheon with 350 attendees and Governor Jeb Bush as guest speaker. The FavorHouse White Rose Luncheon is a venue to recognize an extraordinary survivor of domestic violence for their display of exceptional courage with the “White Rose Award” and a community member who has distinguished themselves in service to FavorHouse and our mission of helping domestic violence victims become survivors.
May 2007 the third White Rose luncheon was held. The Board under the leadership of Bill Smart, President 2004-2006, created and established this very special event. The 2007 FavorHouse Distinguished Service Award was presented to Mrs. Mary Smart in honor of Mr. Bill Smart who passed away in March of 2007. The luncheon is a well attended community event where survivors and supporters come together.