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March 20, 2013
3 people found this review helpful

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March 20, 2013
3 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

More feedback...

How does this organization compare with others in the same sector?

Very Well

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you recommend this organization to others?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

July 23, 2014

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July 23, 2014

I first came to the mission four years ago, my ex husband had sold our home in new jersey and had abandoned me, I came to florida to reconcile with him, and things did not work out, I only had one night left in the hotel and was facing being on the streets with all my belongings, I asked the lady at the hayes motel for shelters in the area, and she gave me an article about the mission in citrus, I called and spoke to Jim, and he told me he had a bed and to come on over the next day, he even provided a ride for me. I was nervous when I first came here, but everyone was so warm and welcoming, that I started to relax and feel right at home, They helped me get food stamps and gave me time to find employment. I even met my husband here. The Mission in citrus is such an awesome shelter, everyone is so warm, friendly and welcoming. It"s more like a home than a shelter. It"s the best shelter in citrus county. They truly offer a hand up, not a hand out. They do everything they can to help you become independent and get back on your feet.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change one thing about the mission. Everything they do is to help you get back on your feet and be on your own.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

I have been treated fair ever since I came to the Mission. I was told about the Mission by a friend at a campground that I was staying at. I would recommend the Mission to anyone. The staff here does a really good job.

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Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

I had got my self in trouble and went to jail! When I got out I had no were to go! So I looked on line and found the mission and gave them a call! When I spoke with the lady on the phone and she took my information and told me she would call me back! In about 30 min she called me back and told me that they had a bed for me! Then she told me about the things that they could help me with! Like helping me find a job, get me to a doctor if needed, tranportation, most of all a place to sleep and food in my belly! An for all that I am truly greatfull!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

like to help raise money to expand the place so that more people could get help!

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

The Mission is the place where i can sleep, fix meals, and use my oxygen. The Mission has helped out quite a bit since I have been here. Without the Mission I wouldn't be able to use my oxygen. I would tell people about the Mission and tell to come and check it out.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

My name is Dan, I came to the Mission in Citrus on 7/9/14 after two weeks of hospitalization in a dual-diagnosis facility for depression and substance abuse. I had never been to a shelter, nor had ever been in such a state as how I came to be here, without home, vehicle, money, food, even clothing. The Mission is amazing, I have been given a bed, clothing, food, a sober facility and structure to remain sober, and encouragement to find work and get back onto my feet, Two weeks later I am amazed at how well this facility helps the community and think it should be recognized as a model for all shelters across the country, if only more homeless and despondent people could be blessed so much. Thank You all who donate anything to the shelter(s), including time and resources.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

expand it to more cities in our county

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

my name is angela, i came two this shelter on 7/16/14 at about ten at night cause where i was staying the guy could not handel my children fighting and yelling and argueing,so he told me to pack my things and he had hi daughter inlaw bring me here she works at walmart and she knows the people here and also donates things from walmart to here,so i have been treated with the up most respect and everyone here is like family to me eveyone is awesome kind respectful and loving to me and my children,so i am very greatful for them letting me and my to children come in to there home and letting me stay till i find a home of my own,i also just got my children back with me from being in the states custody fromm being removed almost one year ago because of child abuse,i had locked my son out of the house cause he was trying to hit my three other children witch are girls,so the police came and said that was child abuse and i whent to jail about six days and they took the children from me so ....i am sincerly greatful for them letting me and my children come in there home and letting us stay till i get my own place.....thankyou so so much the missons of citrus county.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

I was in a bad spot in my life and prayed out to god to give me some direction in life. What I got was 2 months in jail, my children were taken by DCF, and I lost my place. When I got out I had nowhere to go and because of my charge the Mission was leery about allowing me to stay with them. Then they called back because the Director had a big heart and allowed me and my wife to stay here and allow us to begin rebuilding our life. I thank god for the Mission everyday and hope that one day I can repay the kindness afforded to me.

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

I came to Mission Of Citrus after the home I lived in for almost 2 years was foreclosed on due to my grandparents passing since they owned the place. I was treated like family even thought the people here didn't have to. If it was for Mission I would be out in the streets

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

have more people help donate

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

July 23, 2014

more

July 23, 2014

my parent kicked me out and they gave me a place to say no questions asked.i would definitely recommend the mission to anyone in need .they are great people at the board and are very caring.If you need something they will find a way to get it for you if you cant find it . I would also like to give a shoutout to jim, chip and mrs cat for all they have done its been an awsome time staying with yall .

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get a basket ball for the basket ball hoop

More feedback...

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

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