Arnette House, Inc. was formed after Gary Arnette died tragically as a result of a drug overdose in 1979. His parents, Vernon and Sara, and the Arnette family took the initiative to ensure that the future children of North Central Florida would have somewhere to turn for help. Through contributions from friends and family to the Marion County Mental Health Association, a fund was established that would seed what was then called “The Arnette House Project.” The project found its focus with an election of a Board of Directors and the filing of Articles of Incorporation in 1981. In late March of 1982, the doors of the original Arnette House, Inc. were opened. The first facility was a small two bedroom house on NE 8th Avenue and was staffed overnight by Department of Children and Family volunteers. The house was funded strictly through local community donations and was limited to serving three youth at a time.
Today, Arnette House, Inc. is a 3 building complex on 4.8 acres in Northeast Ocala in Marion County that includes an emergency shelter, the Branan Counseling and Administration building, and the Vernon Arnette Educational Center which includes a facility with a home like environment intended for a Transitional Living Program. In 2009 two foster care Group Homes were added. Arnette House’s reach now also extends into Lake County to support its children through initiatives such as the Safe Place Program and an extensive Outreach and Prevention Program including non-residential counseling.
Arnette House is proud to celebrate 33 years of success providing the families of Lake and Marion County with the services they need to end family conflict, stabilize kids in crisis, and reunite children with their families. The program has furthered its reach and services with partnerships with organizations like the United Way, the Department of Juvenile Justice, Florida Network of Youth and Families, the Florida Department of Children & Families, Kids Central, Inc., the United States Department of Health & Human Services, the Youth & Family Services Network, and the Administration for Children and Families.