In the late 1970’s, a group of concerned citizens formed the Evansville Coalition Against Domestic Violence. They met regularly at the YWCA, which had been providing shelter and services to domestic violence victims since 1979. An increased demand for service prompted the group to begin the process of establishing a second shelter in Evansville. A Board of Directors was founded, Articles of Incorporation were filed in 1980 and a suitable home was located. The small house was purchased in February 1981 for $33,900 with a grant from the federal government. After renovating portions of the house, Albion Fellows Bacon Center officially opened its doors in October 1981. It was named for a prominent Evansville woman who had dedicated her life to improving living and working conditions for women, children and the poor.
The original shelter had six bedrooms and two bathrooms, providing housing for a maximum of 27 people. A 24-hour crisis line and shelter were the only services provided by an all volunteer staff. Over the years, the Center began to grow . . . funding sources were established, paid staff were hired and programs were added. By January 1988, Albion offered a 24-hour crisis line, safe shelter, legal advocacy, children’s programming, and outreach services in Crawford, Dubois, Gibson, Orange, Perry, Posey, Spencer, and Warrick counties
After seven years, it became obvious that hundreds of families coming through our doors had finally taken its toll on the Center. Valentine’s Day, 1988 marked the beginning of a Capital Funds Drive to move Albion Fellows Bacon Center from its cramped, dilapidated house to a safe, well-constructed environment. After an exhaustive search for an adequate facility the Board decided in January 1989 to build a new facility. Community leaders committed to raise $50,000 in order to build, and a local bank agreed to carry a flexible, low interest mortgage. Plans were in place for the city to donate one half-block of property in the downtown area, and a plan was made to break ground in the Spring of 1989.
In January 1990, Albion Fellows Bacon Center moved into a new facility built expressly as a shelter. The building is 6500 square feet and houses up to 36 residents. It is located close to the city bus route, is accessible to local service agencies, and is regularly patrolled by law enforcement. Since the building was designed specifically for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, it is equipped with an alarm system, security lighting, surveillance cameras, and is completely accessible to individuals with physical disabilities. There is a large enclosed yard with a patio, playground equipment, picnic tables, and a basketball court. Because the need for our services has grown tremendously in recent years, we converted our garage into additional office space in 1997. It contains four offices and a conference room and is occupied by the Outreach, Primary Prevention and Sexual Assault Programs staff.
In 2014, with the assistance of Welborn Baptist Foundation, we created a Primary Prevention Program addressing youth and the community in the areas of prevention of violence and changing social norms.
As of 2015, Albion has a paid staff of thirty-two and the following programs: Shelter, Non-Residential Services, Community Outreach, Primary Prevention, Sexual Assault, Legal Advocacy, Children’s, and Crisis Response Programs. Our service delivery area has expanded to eleven counties in southern Indiana, and our budget is $1,141,033.07. Although historically servicing eleven counties, workload and increased need limited advocate availability. In 2015, our agency began an expansion of our non-residential services to ensure greater presence in counties outside of Vanderburgh by adding additional staff, placing focus on direct service volunteer recruitment and specializations in underserved population advocacy. This staff expansion resulted in off-site offices to be created through collaborative community partners.
1981: Albion opens its doors
1987: Albion adds Legal Advocacy and Outreach programs and expands service area to 11 counties
1990: Albion moves into new building and adds sexual assault programming
1994-1995: Peer Advocacy and Children’s programs added. Albion becomes certified training facility for law enforcement through the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy
1997: Albion co-sponsors the regions first Annual Awareness Training and coordinates its first “Take Back the Night” event
2010: Albion begins cross-training all advocates and crisis response volunteers so they are equipped to respond to both DV and SV clients
2011: Prevention education emphasis begins
2013: Albion begins process of organizational redevelopment, redefining, refocusing and renewing our commitment to our services and mission
2014: Outreach Program redefined and Primary Prevention Program added