AVDA has been a safe haven for thousands of victims of domestic abuse. Adults and children are provided 24-hour, 7 days a week emergency shelter, crisis counseling, food, clothing, individual and group counseling services.
In 1984, a group of Palm Beach County residents formed a coalition for the purpose of creating a shelter for victims of domestic abuse.
In 1985, the group organized as a nonprofit corporation in Florida and agreed upon the name, Aid to Victims of Domestic Assault (AVDA). AVDA raised $250,000 to match a $250,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funds were used to purchase and renovate a two-story, stucco former residential home that was built in 1953 to serve as the shelter. Equipment and furnishings were obtained from businesses and individuals in the community. AVDA's first clients were served on February 17, 1986.
In 1998, AVDA changed its corporate name from Aid to Victims of Domestic Assault, Inc. to Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse, Inc. to better reflect the nature of the services provided by the organization. Over the years, AVDA has grown to meet the need to shelter, support, serve, and educate survivors and their children. Our programs have evolved from its early intervention shelter services to include prevention and educational outreach services.
In 2005, AVDA expanded its emergency shelter capacity and opened the doors to a new transitional living facility. The Casa Vegso Transitional Living Facility added a new dimension to AVDA's services by providing housing for domestic violence survivors for up to two years. In the transitional living program, survivors can move from homelessness to independent living while receiving counseling, life skills, training, and encouragement.
In 2006, AVDA added a Health & Wellness Initiative for residents in AVDA’s emergency shelter and transitional housing. This program was expanded in 2013 to include onsite yoga, exercise and nutrition classes for residents. In collaboration with Legal Aid of Palm Beach County, AVDA developed a Community Wide Anti-Stalking Initiative for Palm Beach County, which has been used as a national model. AVDA is also a member of the Sexual Assault Response Team of Palm Beach County.
In 2014, AVDA demolished its original shelter building to rebuild a new state-of-the-art shelter building that will substantially increase AVDA’s capacity.
In 2015, AVDA’s newly rebuilt emergency shelter was open to residents June 30th. The new state-of-the-art building increases bed capacity by an additional 22 beds and allows AVDA to serve 44% more individuals annually. Pursuant to state law, the shelter is in an undisclosed location.
AVDA's growth reflects the dedication of the organization to empower victims of domestic abuse to enable them to live their lives independently and free of fear.