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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

June 24, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

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June 24, 2014
1 person found this review helpful

I was brought in two days ago and have been treated really well. They gave a bed that was clean to sleep in. I am also a US Army Veteran for fours years. I proudly served my country. I would definitely recommend the Mission to my friends and family if they were to become homeless.

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

June 24, 2014

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June 24, 2014

I was in a group home up in Marion County and i was threatened. I started walking from Marion County and was picked up by a lady who brought me to the Mission In Citrus. The staff has treated me wonderfully ever since i got here. If my friends and family ever got in my situation, I would definitely recommend this place to them. I have found that it is the best place to be when you are homeless. They treat you like you are part of their family.

Ways to make it better...

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

make no changes. It rund perfectly just the way it is

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

June 6, 2014

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June 6, 2014

I am a 49 year old female. I was homeless. I called around Citrus County all the way up to Jacksonville to at least 15 different shelters. I was turned down by all except Mission in Citrus because of my health and physical ability. I had a stroke back in October 2013. All turned me down because I have to have a walker to assist my walking. I was told if I couldn't work and stand for 8 hours they couldn't assist me. Mr. Jim and the Mission took me in like family, willing to help any way they can. I was and am treated like family not like a outcast.

Ways to make it better...

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

More assistance and funding for the homeless and disabled.

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

June 6, 2014

more

June 6, 2014

I found my son and myself homeless, and scared to death. I couldn't imagine where we were going to end up, and I was told about The Mission of Citrus. I called and was greeted with such warmth on the phone and eased my mind. I felt awful cause all I did was cry. The next day I was brought to the Mission and when I drove up, I was surprised that it looked like a real home. I walked up and was greeted with such warmth, love and understanding. My we were welcomed with opened arms into a home an not just a house. This man Papa Jim took my son and myself in and all my son can say is that Papa rescued me and my mommy. The short time I have been here they have been loving, friendly and given us the tools to help us have something in life, I didn't think was possible. They have show grace and loving mercy. If it wasn't for Papa Jim and the Mission we would not have a chance because no one has ever loved and cared for us in my life. We have a chance because of this man who my son calls his rescuer and he is.

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?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2014

June 6, 2014

more

June 6, 2014

i split up with my wife i had heard of a shelter here in crystal river so i got on my bike and made my way here i dont know what will happen in my relationship but i am very thankful for the help i have been given. i am looking for work and will continue until i find something.everybody has been very nice.

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

June 6, 2014

more

June 6, 2014

My name is Tom and I was sent here by Seven Rivers Hospital because there was no other place for me to go due to the injuries that i received. I have been treated really well at the Mission even after I had to have my right leg amputated. The staff and residents at the Mission have been very helpful to me. I would definitely recommend the Mission to my friends and family if they ever became homeless.

Ways to make it better...

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

not make any changes to the Mission.

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

March 29, 2014

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March 29, 2014

I have been working with Mission In Citrus since December of 2013 as a Case Manager. They are a homeless shelter in Citrus County FL whose police is "If we don't help them - who will?" The Executive Director goes above and beyond when it comes to the residents. We work on establishing resident needs and then finding ways to meet those needs with the resources we have. If there is a will - there is a way.

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?

2014

March 25, 2014

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1 previous review
October 25, 2012

The first day I met Pastor Jim I knew his heart was to help the homeless. I have watched him help so many people in need regardless of race, ethnicity, or background. His shelter has given people hope... more

March 25, 2014

I am just a willing vessel for the Lord. I have found over the years that Pastor Jim has a heart of gold. He goes endless days and nights without rest just to be sure the needs of people in this community are met. He fights for a good cause and pushes people to be their best. Pastor Jim is truly on a MISSION FROM GOD and may his efforts be richly rewarded. Many abundant blessings to Pastor Jim and all the residents who have come through these doors.

A Quiet Little Angel
Love You All ... Big Hugs
October 25, 2012

The first day I met Pastor Jim I knew his heart was to help the homeless. I have watched him help so many people in need regardless of race, ethnicity, or background. His shelter has given people hope, love, spirituality, and forgiveness. He treats others as equal and never looks down on people. His mission is to help the homeless but at the same time is also on a mission from God. I believe because of his faithfulness to serve the homeless and the Lord he is rewarded in more ways than money could ever buy. May he continue in good health and in good spirits with the Lord's hand of protection around each and every person there. God Bless You Pastor Jim. Just a quiet Angel sent to help.

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?

2012

March 23, 2014

more

March 23, 2014

Was living with my father and he wanted some personal space. That is how I became homeless. Since I came to the mission everyone has been kind, helpful with providing resources that I could use to get back on my feet. My goals are to find a job and permanent housing of my own. While talking to people I recommend the mission for help if that is what they need.
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