FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Harvest House Partners with the Lee Wetherington Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to Turn the Lights On

SARASOTA, Fla. May 13, 2015 – In partnership with the Lee Wetherington Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Harvest House Transitional Centers was recently able to purchase 18 units in the greater Newtown area out of foreclosure. Once renovated, the plan for this Family Village is to designate housing for the regions homeless U.S. Military Veteran families and chronically homeless families while significantly increasing Sarasota’s affordable housing stock.

The leadership at Harvest House is committed to ensuring that the organization’s mission to facilitate an environment full of hope that gives individuals and families an opportunity to break the cycle of homelessness and addiction as they rebuild their lives will continue to serve this area’s most chronically homeless population.

For many years, these units have been the center of criminal activity in the Newtown community. “The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office has conducted numerous criminal investigations in that area in recent years to include child neglect, trafficking of unlawful substances, possession of controlled substances, possession of cocaine, carrying concealed weapon and robbery, “ said Tom Knight, Sarasota County Sheriff. “The purchase and improvement of this location is an example of community partners collaborating to improve the quality of life of all citizens. This improvement is also aligned with the Sheriff’s Office’s crime prevention philosophy based on the idea that proper design and effective use of physical properties can lead to reduced crime, reduced fear of crime and an improved quality of life for all Sarasota County residents.” Harvest House was able to assist eligible families who were occupying these units secure safe, affordable housing.

Due to the current conditions of the units, Harvest House will be leaving the structural walls of the units and replacing the following:

Wraparound fencing, Sustainable landscaping, Roofing, Flooring, Doors & windows, Air-conditioning, Electrical, Plumbing and county sewage hook ups, Bathrooms – vanities, showers, tubs, toilets, faucets, Kitchen – appliances, cabinetry, Laundry appliances, Light fixtures, Furniture, Housewares

The realization of this vision will require a significant investment of resources. To this end, Harvest House is announcing Turn the Lights On; a fundraising campaign designed to secure $600,000 from friends and the community. Members of Harvest House leadership have already pledged financial support to the Campaign. Furthermore, several fellow community leaders have come forward with generous lead gifts to help begin the Turn the Lights On campaign with a boost. These combined pledges have helped raise $350,000 toward the $600,000 goal.

“Over the last year we have been working so diligently on the acquisition of these properties,” said Erin Minor, executive director of Harvest House Transitional Centers. “When people drive by, see us cleaning up the area and renovating the entire block, they clap their hands and cheer us on. This neighborhood will be changed forever and this project is a testament to the collaboration of a community who cares deeply.”

A member of the Family Haven Alliance, Harvest House is one of this region’s largest providers of housing for chronically homeless families. Since 1992 they have been providing permanent supportive, transitional, low-income rental homes and emergency housing for families, and affordable, residential drug and alcohol treatment for individuals in Sarasota. All Harvest House clients are assigned a case manager to assist them throughout their journey to an independent, sustainable lifestyle. Educational courses, including life and employability skills, parenting development, anger management, mental health groups, addiction education, and many more are easily accessible to each program participant.

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