Save the Date: 2017 Sarasota Slam

Posted Posted in Family Haven Emergency Shelter, Freedom Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Home Again Permanent Housing, Press Releases, Uncategorized, Veteran Transitional Housing

August 1 – 5, 2017

Marina Jack, Sarasota FL
2 Marina Plaza,
Sarasota, FL 34236

Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association invites you to partner for the 2017 Sarasota Slam in Sarasota, Florida with a donation to our silent auction. This event has become one of Southwest Florida’s most endeared fishing tournaments. We understand and appreciate that the anglers are what make the event. We appreciate and love having them back year after year.

After 14 years, this event has already made a name for itself in the fishing community. Anglers are greeted by an amazing location and staff and treated to a top-notch event. More than 500 anglers competed and reeled in over $500,000 in cash prizes over the years.

The tournament also reaches out to the community by supporting local organizations. Weigh-in starts at 1:00pm and spectators from all over the globe come to participate in raffle drawings, silent auctions to benefit our 2017 selected charity Harvest House as you witness the largest weigh-in Sarasota Florida has ever experienced.


For silent auction donations, please complete this form.

The Casualties of Addiction

Posted Posted in Freedom Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Home Again Permanent Housing, Veteran Transitional Housing

I really couldn’t tell you where I would be right now if it was not for Harvest House. I don’t know if I would still have my children with me, or if they would be growing up with others. Harvest House has shown me how to accomplish the things I wanted in my life, free of drugs, and to separate myself from the things I had brought into my life that were destroying all that I loved. Harvest House gave me a place to sleep, to eat, and to have people to talk to who understood my challenges and were ready to help me. It changed my life, no doubt about it, and gave me back my self-respect and the respect of my children that had been lost to opioids many years before.

Aaron Gibbs
Veteran. Father. Husband. Former Addict.

Although Aaron Gibbs’ military service to our nation ended over two decades ago, he has been waging his own private war ever since. His fight was a daily battle against the curse of opioid drug addiction, and until he found his way to Harvest House just over eight months ago, the drugs were winning.

His life was filled with the casualties of addiction, and as Aaron told me recently, “Drugs stole my ability to dream away from me. I had no future. There was just right then, right now, and nothing more. And as I look back on that time of my life today, there really isn’t anything that addiction doesn’t take from your life. For all those reasons and more, I am so grateful that a few friends I worked with had the courage to suggest Harvest House to me…because they saved my life.”

Harvest House is dedicated to the premise that all people deserve safe, stable housing and the opportunity to renew their hope and dream again. We serve a variety of populations with residential programs for veterans, families and unaccompanied young people who are homeless or have a history of homelessness, substance abuse and incarceration.

Aaron participated in our VETS (Veterans Empowered through Transitional Services) program, which serves adult male veterans who have struggled with substance abuse after their service causing them to experience homelessness. In our approach, housing and treatment is provided to our veterans at no cost.

In fact, Harvest House is the only organization in Sarasota to participate in the development, preservation, and management of affordable, service-enriched housing. This model is becoming the standard for serving families and individuals who are working to rebuild their lives. At Harvest House we believe that affordable housing and supportive programs improve the economic status of residents, revitalize neighborhoods, and stabilize lives.

Aaron Gibbs is but one example of that success.

“Today, I have been free of drugs and clean for over eight months. Thanks to the help I received, I have a great job with a local commercial painting company. Now that I am clean and healthy, my school aged children live with me, and because I have been able to buy a safe car, they can once again participate in after school programs. Because I am there with them,” Aaron told me, “I am able to help them with their homework as any parent should, and that renewed parental presence has made a huge, positive impact in their lives.”

Just as he was about to leave to pick up one of his children, Aaron turned to me and emphatically said, “Harvest House changes lives. I know this, because it changed mine. If you have the desire, it will help you turn your life around. Honestly, I can’t imagine a better way to make a difference than to help a struggling person regain their life again.”

For veterans of our nation’s military who wage their own war against illness, homelessness and despair, Harvest House is a source of hope and inspiration. Hope, knowing that we will fight for them if they have the courage to fight for themselves, and inspiration found in veterans like Aaron, who are winning in their battles against drug addiction, homelessness and despair.

“There is no doubt that without the support of people I will never meet and never be able to thank personally, Harvest House would be hard pressed to help families like mine,” Aaron reminded me. “Without that support, I don’t have any idea what my life would be like today, and for all that have chosen to help, I am truly grateful.”

Because we know that there will always be another worthy veteran who will need our help, I ask you to please choose to stand with us by making a generous, committed gift today. Remember, every dollar in support we receive from you will be matched by the Lee Wetherington Foundation’s $50,000 challenge match. On behalf of all those who will benefit from your support, I thank you.


Click here to make your gift today!

The number of homeless Vietnam-era veterans, male and female, is greater than the number of soldiers who died during the war.

Posted Posted in Family Village Renovations, Freedom Substance Abuse Treatment Program, Veteran Transitional Housing

For far too many veterans here in Sarasota County and across this country, joining the military has proven easier than leaving it.

To try and cope with the disturbing memories that they bring home, it’s not uncommon for veterans to turn to alcohol, and sometimes drugs, to numb their emotions, and so the number of alcohol-addicted vets has roughly doubled in the last five years, according to the latest figures from the U.S. Army. Homelessness is compounding the problem for returning vets, leading some down the crippling road towards substance abuse.

Since, 2010 it has been our privilege at Harvest House to serve the male homeless veteran population with housing and wrap-around services. And, we have seen great success, with 85% of our participating veterans moving into permanent housing. But, did you know that the risk of women veterans becoming homeless is four times greater than for male veterans?

Thanks to the Lee Wetherington Foundation, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Baycross Christian Family Foundation, and the generosity of our donors, we will be opening a Family Village within the year. The Family Village will add 72 beds to our Home Again program, and a portion of which will be earmarked for veteran families who are homeless.

For Harvest House, it isn’t until these men and women arrive at our doorway looking for a last chance to repair and recover, that we have the chance to show them how very much we honor them and value their service to our country. When we finally do meet them, they have already worn through all the traditional opportunities for recovery and are often desperate for a chance to rebuild and recapture their past lives.

We think they deserve the best chance that we can provide to them, and with your support, we will always be able to provide it. On any given day, more than 300 men and women will wake up at Harvest House. Many of them are veterans. Under our roof these vets will receive shelter, rest, food, clothing, and a chance to turn the corner and return to the life they knew once before.

On behalf of each of these heroes, thank you for your support…

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

Posted Posted in Family Village Renovations, Home Again Permanent Housing, Press Releases, Veteran Transitional Housing


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.