Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Harvest House Opens Family Housing | Dilapidated Properties Redone over 13 Months to Give Needed Shelter

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Harvest House Opens Family Housing | Dilapidated Properties Redone over 13 Months to Give Needed Shelter

Article excerpt

HOMELESSNESS

SARASOTA -- Harvest House is doubling the housing it has available to help homeless families, veterans and young adults this summer with the new Harvest House Family Village in greater Newtown.

The cluster of 18 apartments on the 2700 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, just west of Tuttle Avenue, will provide 66 beds to the nonprofit's Home Again permanent housing program, Harvest House executive director Erin Minor said.

For Minor, the project is the literal manifestation of the group's tagline: "Revitalizing neighborhoods, transforming lives."

"We start with the neighborhood and the physical buildings, but then we move on to the most critical things, which is the lives we touch and support in their critical time of need," Minor said Monday.

The project began last year when Harvest House bought the units out of foreclosure for about $250,000 with funding from the Lee Wetherington Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

The dilapidated properties were riddled with bugs and mold and had become a hot spot for drug and sex trafficking in the area, Minor said.

In 13 months and with a $200,000 grant from Sarasota County and the Turn The Lights On fundraising campaign, Harvest House gutted and renovated the buildings to revitalize the block, she said.

Harvest House has invested nearly $1 million into the properties, she added.

"We've been moving quickly," Minor said. "The need is so large for the working class and our homeless families that we didn't want to delay. Every single day through Family Haven, our emergency shelter funded by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, we have families coming to us with no safe places to sleep.

"Every day families are struggling to find somewhere they can get the support they need long term, not just a couple of weeks," she said.

Local leaders will host a special ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony to commemorate the new village at 3:30 p. …

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