MISSION IN CITRUS INC
Rating: 4.8 stars 209 reviews
Issues: Job Training, Food, Homeless & Housing
Location: 2488 North Pennsylvania Ave Crystal River FL 34428 USA
Results: Went from 60 tents to four shelters Opened a Veterans Shelter on less than $ 5000 Operation Mercy Call which uses Jeeps and bikes to access the woods to hand out much needed food and medical supplies, Were awarded over $ 100,000 in grants Were given over $ 150,000 in in kind donations Helped over 3600 homeless individuals and families from food to shelter
Target demographics: Homeless Veterans,Homeless men, women, and children
Direct beneficiaries per year: 3600
Geographic areas served: Citrus, Marion, Lake,Levy, Hernando Counties in Florida
Programs: Drug and Alcohol treatment Help Hire the homeless program Operation Mercy Call Homeless Veteran's Shelter Disability Shelter
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5 people found this review helpful
The homeless in rural Florida have proven what I believed in all along. That they could help each other without paid staff, when given the proper resources. Homeless veterans, men, women, and children have shown that they can take a hand up, instead of a handout, and get their lives back in order. In less than three years there were five shelters; two for homeless Veterans.
We recently closed one shelter because the Mission in Citrus eliminated 75% of the homeless Veteran problem in Citrus County, and due to the slowdown in our present economy. Our shelters are geared to operate at the lowest cost, and to be moved or closed when necessary. They are located close to jobs and resources.
Close to 450 former residents still keep in contact with me through email, Facebook, or phone. I am so very proud of them, as their accomplishments are no less than a miracle. We are not faith based but live by faith. No one is forced to go to church, but over 90% attend services each week at the church of their choice. Our saying is that God runs things around here. And He does. Miracle after miracle has occurred during the past four years. A Good Samaritan to all in need. We are struggling now, as we have been denied funding because we do not have anyone who can write grants properly. But we are working on that. And all of the praise, glory, and honor, we give to God for all His blessings.
Over two thousand people were helped back into society since 2009, by using fewer dollars and more sense. Their success record is 80%, which is much higher than the national average. There are no security cameras or locked doors. Our foundation is based on that no one should lose their freedoms that so many Veterans have died for, unless they are a criminal. Since February 1st 2013, over 42 people moved into homes with jobs. That may seem small to many, but it was over 50% of our residents living at our shelters. Fourteen were children. Five were entire families.
Our 1st Veteran's shelter was opened on less than $5000, and a lot of faith. It is now approaching its fourth year of operation. Veterans have returned to society into their own homes after receiving their much deserved benefits. Similar shelters were built using millions. Formerly homeless Veterans run the shelter, after being helped themselves. All give a volunteer commitment. Fund raising is now in progress to increase their capacity. Our second shelter was designed after the John Wayne-type outposts in the old west. In rural areas, the homeless have to walk between 12-50 miles for help and services. The outpost provided meals, shelter, laundry, showers, and much more. It served many Veterans living in the woods and swamps, and those traveling around the country. The model was highly successful, before it’s closing due to lack of funds... Our next project is a mobile command center called Angels on Wheels. It will be able to help Veterans in any area with full service. The mobile vehicle will enable the Mission in Citrus to reach out to many Veterans, who are currently receiving little to no help.
“If we do not help them, who will?”
The Mission in Citrus Homeless Shelters were founded in 2008, after the Executive Director “I “became homeless. My research and personal experience showed that traditional shelters were not working, and too much of their budgets were spent on administration expenses, and not on the residents. Too many criminalized homelessness. Most of the homeless are not criminals; they just need the resources to get their lives back in order. A hand up, not a hand out. The focus is on jobs, and our Hire the Homeless program has been highly successful. The residents also help operate the shelter by paying for their upkeep with donations, once they find employment or receive disability. They volunteer thousands of hours to Habitat for Humanity, area food banks, Sertoma Club, Lion's Club, and many other nonprofits. No one is allowed to sit around. All earn their keep.
We have overcome many obstacles in the past four years, from 60 tents to 5 shelters. We had major fights with everyone from the Fire Marshal, Sheriff’s Dept., and many other agencies, including County Commissioners. We now have positive working relationships with all of them. We have earned their respect. We still have a long way to go.
Grant writing is hard because there is little time after helping so many people each day. We beg for 80% of our operating funds using collections sites, such as Wal-Mart, and County flea markets. Over 1000 people were helped last year with $120,000. The Mission in Citrus continues to fight for homeless rights. Our emails are sent to numerous government officials each day. Homelessness can decrease through more accountability of dollars. One shelter gets Federal funds, while operating at an annual cost of $38,000 a bed. It is cheaper to go to Harvard.
Our residents age from four days old to 72 years old. The new face of homelessness has become many homeless women and children. We are expecting two new babies in the next month. The days of the old homeless stereotype are over. The present economy is taking no prisoners.
Our long term goals are to share our system with others, and to increase our homeless Veterans beds by 150 by buying a motel. We soon hope to start a successful in-house drug and alcohol treatment shelter. The Mission in Citrus could easily become a movie as so many miracles have occurred there. When I turned 51 last year, over 200 former residents visited, Face booked, emailed, or called. That does not happen at normal shelters.
They take great pride as they have become a family, and lift each other up. We have two quotes. “If we do not help them…Who will? “And “We follow the parable of the good Samaritan.” We help all in need. In our history, we have never failed to feed and help anyone who has entered our gates. We even take food and water into the woods and swamps for many hard core Veterans, who have lost faith in society.
About The Mission in Citrus
Our Mission is to help all in need to the best of our ability. We follow the parable of the Good Samaritan, as there are no requirements for our services. We constantly reinvent the wheel to make it all work. The faces of homelessness can change as well as each individual’s circumstances. And there have been very few that we have not been able to help. Veterans have become our priority as we have seen their suffering the most.
To all the past and present residents of the Mission in Citrus. I am so very proud of you. You made it work. God gave us the direction and help through many. God bless you all and much Love to all of you
James M Sleighter – Founder and Executive Director of the Mission in Citrus
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The mission has brought me a long ways. It made me start believing in myself! Without Jim and Katherina this place would never be the same! They are helping me get into my own place so that I can be more independent.
I just would love the mission in citrus. They helped me get off the streets give me a warm bed to sleep in the roof over my head and food in my belly.people are great they're very respectful there are more programs to offer more things for me.
I came here with the clothes on my back nowhere to go and no where to stay. I was given a place to stay food to eat and a roof over my head. I am very grateful for their generosity here. I even got sick and had to go stay in a nursing home for a while and then I was allowed to come back I had no place to go at this time either. If it wasn't for the help of the mission in citrus I would have been living in the woods after just getting out of rehab. I would most definitely recommend this place to anyone else
I came here 7 months ago. I didn't have anywhere to go and my family didn't want to do anything to help. I had gotten myself into trouble and didn't have anywhere to turn. I found the mission in citrus and I gave him a call. When I called at first they said they didn't have no bed I was devastated.a little while later my phone ring and it was the mission telling me to go ahead and come in that they had a place for me. I was scared. I had never been homeless before my life and I didn't know what to expect. I went in and I was greeted with smile. The staff and everyone there were very nice they welcomed me in like I was family. everyone here has helped me set goals and follow through with them. It has made me a more humble person. I have had the pleasure of working with other homeless people here. I am very grateful for the experiences that I have learned here. I have learned that there are a lot of great people in this world. And there is kindness and love in our world still. I don't think I would have found these things out as soon as I did if it hadn't been for the mission in citrus. I just wish there were more places like this in our community where people could come when they fall on hard times and no that there is someone there that cares and is willing to help them. I just want to thank everyone and the mission in citrus for giving me a chance and helping me out. I am forever grateful thank you.
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I used to a resident at the Mission. I am an honorably discharged veteran and i am very grateful for what the Mission did for me and my son. I was welcomed with open arms and was helped to get on my feet. The staff and residents were very helpful to the both of us. The Executive Director helped to understand my son better when he would have his meltdowns due to his autism. Now my son has gone from having meltdowns to talking to someone when he feels like he is getting upset. He is also getting straight A's in school and has been getting them for the last 3 years. I am now getting my VA disability every month and we are now living in an RV that was donated to the Shelter that was given to us and we have it up at Dan's Clam Stand. I am now getting a house built through Habitat for Humanity so that we can once again have what we had lost so many years ago. I would have been lost if my son and I weren't picked up at the local Greyhound Bus Station just over 3 years ago by my brother and dropped off at the Shelter. Even though I am back on my feet, I still go back to the Shelter and help them out whenever they need the help. I have found where GOD wants me and what HE wants me to do with my life. I have also found my FAITH once again since we have been at the Shelter. THANK YOU JIM AND EVERYONE WHO HELPS TO RUN THE MISSION FOR EVERYTHING THAT YOU GUYS HAVE DONE FOR ME AND MY SON!!!!!!!!!!!
My name is Rob! I have been here for a little while! An I find this to a be a really nice place to be! I came in with a lot of questions and the staff was more than happy to help answer those questions. I was welcomed and made feel at home! I would recommend this place to anyone who needs a place to stay!
My experience here has shown me that there should be more place like this! I wasn't looked at as another homeless person! They looked at me as a person who had come on hard times. They accepted me as I am and didn't discriminate against my religion! An opened me up to the experience to help other people and has shown me friendship! I think the mission is a good place to help others and be!
1 person found this review helpful
my name is Katherine I have come so far since coming to the mission I am now helping and also have a family that loves me for who I am
3 people found this review helpful
The mission in citrus is a blessing for the less fortunate who have encountered unfortunate circumstances in their lives. It is a place where no one is judged, and everyone is treated like a person instead of a statistic. After loosing my sons father, i was graciously embraced, and received things to help ease the burden of such a horrible time in our lives, and am still reached out to by Jim to assure we are doing ok. People have a stereo type of the homeless, and most times shy away, but fail to realize that at anytime, it could happen to them. Illnesses, deaths, financial, and even emotional hardships are not prejudice to anyone...it is a fact of life, and sadly it happens daily to folks just like me and you. Jim and his staff work diligently to help as many people as they can reach, up to and INCLUDING children, and infants. God bless.