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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

August 27, 2014

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August 27, 2014

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.
August 21, 2014

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2 previous reviews - show all
March 21, 2014

john ive been sober 9 months inlaws n x sister didn't like that so x sister in law said I was cheating on my wife which I was not but they all belived x sister inlaw so I lost everything n also x sist... more

August 21, 2014

I have been at the mission in Citrus Veterans shelter for 4 years now. Over the past 2 years I had to fight cancer and beat it. Two and a half years ago I started to have severe tremors and now because I had a great VA doctor I am tremor free. I now have rods in my spine and am diabetic. I also have to wear a shoe that has a 2 inch lift on it. How many shelters do you know that would go through all of these problems that one man would have. At one time I was going to leave the mission but when I told my doctor my plans she told me that with my health the way it is I need to stay right where I'm at. Dr. Kirchech told me that I couldn't be in A better place. Now I am able to help out the Mission that I love so much and praise god for every day I wake.

More feedback...

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?

A lot

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

March 21, 2014

john ive been sober 9 months inlaws n x sister didn't like that so x sister in law said I was cheating on my wife which I was not but they all belived x sister inlaw so I lost everything n also x sister said family never liked him anyway they held that in for 18 years so that is how I became homeless they said at the drop of a hat get out so I found this place n they r good people n we are all on hard times but we all make it work
July 18, 2012

Jim Sleighter has been a very good person to me. when i first came to the mission, i had never been in this homless situation and needed a place to stay. Jim made me a director over a two year period. Dureing that time i started to get sick. This is my third year here and at present I half to use a wheel chair or a walker if posible. Jim and the mission are my family now and i praise god for giving me a family like them.

More feedback...

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Likely

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?

Likely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

August 21, 2014

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2 previous reviews - show all
April 8, 2013

M'y family and i lived at the mission for 10 months , in that Time WE were treated good and helped alot! WE volunteered at évents through the mission and had fun too!!! WE also Made lots of friends !... more

August 21, 2014

M'y family and i stayer There from august 2010 till June 2011. WE were treated very well and learned how to help others who came after us !!! The mission is like a big family , if one person is upset ,everyone tries to cher them up !!! And lots of Love !!! Even though WE moves back to nj , WE still spread the word about the mission !!!

Ways to make it better...

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

None

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?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

April 8, 2013

M'y family and i lived at the mission for 10 months , in that Time WE were treated good and helped alot! WE volunteered at évents through the mission and had fun too!!! WE also Made lots of friends !!! Its the best !!! The mission helps everybody !! Nô matter what !!

More feedback...

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

A lot

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?

2010

July 17, 2012

M'y family and i lived at the mission for 10 monts before getting a place . They were Nice and helped us Get on our feet . I recommend this place to anyone .

More feedback...

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

A lot

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

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

August 20, 2014

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August 20, 2014

I'm proud to donate my time and resources to the Mission in Citrus. They are saving lives in our community and providing people with a hand up not a hand out. The Director and The Board work tirelessly to help people get their lives back in order with dignity and compassion,
They not only
provide a secure environment for the residents, they offer assistance in areas like job training and money matters, they help them in obtaining the resources they need to get back on their feet, help obtaining health and dental care etc.
The Mission strives to keep families together, help Veterans in need, and in general give people HOPE.
I'm grateful they exist in times like these and I'm grateful to know such a wonderful organization.

More feedback...

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?

A lot

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

August 20, 2014

more

August 20, 2014

this place is great. the people here are very nice and loving. i would recommend this place to anyone who needs help. its a great environment to bring kids of all ages. its very friendly.

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

August 20, 2014

more

August 20, 2014

I have only been here one day today, I ended up here due to a series of unfortunate events. I now realize it was nothing but a blessing. The people in here are the nicest people I have ever encountered it was a blessing to have found this place. If in the future I ever run into someone that is homeless and scared like I was only yesterday. I would tell them to come here to understand that there are still people out there who care.

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

August 20, 2014

more

August 20, 2014

I am only one day into this program, but my 1st day experience was overwhelmingly like being placed in haven. So far, everyone is kind and generous. I go day by day, I anticipate a pleasant and productive and spiritual experience from my stay here.

Ways to make it better...

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

At this time, I have no\t had enough experience to comment, on this subject.

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 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.

More feedback...

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

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