Press Release

Inaugural Holiday Lights Spectacular


Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Partners with Harvest House to Bring Holiday Cheer to the Greater Newtown Community!

SARASOTA, Fla. December 3, 2015 – Harvest House and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are hosting the Inaugural Holiday Lights Spectacular at the Family Village! Similar to what you may have seen in Rockefeller Center, on the National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or even on the Travel Channel, we have created a light show at the Family Village. Come celebrate and help us #TurnTheLightsOn Thursday, December 10th at 7:00pm! There will be a performance by two guest carolers from the Artist Series and Lee Dougherty Ross, hot cocoa, cookies, and a sneak peak at the renovation progress!

After the initial lighting December 10th the light show will continue each evening in December until the end of the year. Cars driving by the Family Village will be able to tune their radios to an FM channel and listen to the music as they watch the lights perform.

Where: 2720 Dr Martin Luther King Way Sarasota, FL (Parking and shuttles will be provided at Newtown Estates Park)

When: Thursday, December 10, 2015

Time: 7:00pm

Ticket: FREE! (The event will be free for the whole community to enjoy with hot chocolate and festive cookies!)

Partnering with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Lee Wetherington Foundation, and Baycross Christian Family Foundation, Harvest House was able to purchase 18 units in the Greater Newtown area out of foreclosure last April. Once renovated, the plan for this Family Village is to designate housing for the regions homeless U.S. Military Veteran families, homeless families and homeless unaccompanied youth while significantly increasing Sarasota’s affordable housing stock.

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.

“Over the last year we have been working so diligently on the acquisition of these properties,” said Erin Minor, executive director of Harvest House. “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 supportive housing providers. 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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