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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Shelters, International, Military & Veterans Organizations, Veterans

Mission: 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, and adapt quickly to make it work in any situation. The faces of homelessness can change as well as each individual's circumstances. Our founder became homeless himself, and found that traditional shelters were not working, and did not address the needs of the homeless, especially Veterans. This in and of itself was discouraging, as our Veterans fought for the rights of all, not just themselves. The Founder feels that no one should lose those rights by becoming homeless. Many fought and also died for freedom in America. The Mission in Citrus operates on love and a family atmosphere. Veterans, and many others who are homeless are helped regardless of their beliefs or unique situations. Many of the homeless Veterans have given up trusting our society, and have little access to shelter and services in rural settings. Based out of Citrus County, Florida, our program is designed for those who are less than perfect and know it, but want and need health, outreach, spiritual, and social services. We seek to empower homeless Veterans of all ages to meet their own needs. Recognizing the uniqueness,dignity, and value of each person, we accept individuals as they are, in an affirming and compassionate manner, and call upon the larger community to the same mission. The Mission provides basic and self-care supplies, free health care, housing and supportive services for the homeless Veterans that are the hardest to reach, including those who refuse to go into a shelter and live out in the rural wooded areas of our county. The Mission also provides referrals to other community agencies, such as child care providers and legal aid. The Mission in Citrus Inc operates three shelters located in Crystal River, and Inverness, Florida. The Mission In Citrus strives to help all in need - regardless of their faith or lack of. While we encourage, teach, and preach the Gospel, we force it upon no one. It is not a requirement for any of our services. As Founder and Executive Director , I have worked for seven years to improve the help we give to others.That is between God and I. But there are several projects that need to be completed before God takes me home.Most of them concern Veterans, as they are becoming the new face of homelessness each day. In the past two weeks, we have taken in six new Veterans. Not good. I am asking for help in getting them help with disabilities, contacting Congressman,and funding to offer more services. Anyone can visit the shelter at 306 south Park Ave in Inverness at anytime and meet our homeless Veterans. One is a three combat tour Veteran who only gets 30% disability after being shot in the head. It appals me.. Please help. Every little bit counts.God bless

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 $ 260,000 in grants Were given over $ 750,000 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 Veterans,men, women, and children. Over 18,000 bed nights, 75,000 meals, clothing,cars,RVS, campers, and much more.All given out freely.

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 Angels on Wheels

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

7 David382

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have known of Mr. Sleighter's service to the veterans of our community since prior to the establishment of his Veteran's Shelter in Inverness in 2010 - his kindness and caring had provided food and some respit to those struggling to get on their feet - myself included. Many times, he offered to assist with a place to "get you back on the right track", yet I demurred, feeling that his services should go to those more in need than I: at the time, though I was transient and working only occasionally, I still believed myself capable of continued existence without continuous support.Until this year.I found myself without a place to live, struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, no work prospects, and no one who I could comfortably ask for assistance... save Mission in Citrus. I asked to borrow a tent... there were none, but the staff (tenants of the Inverness Shelter itself) were helpful and made sure I left with enough food to sustain myself a few days, and a promise Jim would pick up a tent. That very evening, Jim HIMSELF went to Wal-Mart and picked up a tent, letting me know I was welcome to pick it up... and AGAIN offered me the opportunity to stay at the shelter (with identification verification against any potential legal entanglements and a DD214 to show veterans' status).I still felt I could do better without clogging up the facility. I mean, a grown man SHOULDN'T have to ask for help, right?After two days of self reflection and rumination, I decided to accept his generous offer.After two and a half years of fluctuating residency, living on the couches of others, struggling to make ends meet, feeling worthless and 'a drain on society', I meekly moved into the Inverness shelter.Sleeping on a bed has never felt so luxurious.A hot shower never so wonderful.being able to clean oneself and one's clothes regularly raises the spirits.And having (even in this secular world) someone who's Faith has built their reputation and their service in the actual spirit of that Faith, well...An aside: As I think about this, I'm crying - tears of joy.I have been at the Inverness shelter a little over four weeks now - as of date, I've only missed one VA appointment (my fault - worked over the weekend and overslept the morning of my lab), have had more response to my applications for employment (two offers in less than a month, as opposed to earlier attempts often going as long as a year without an interview or even notification), and will be volunteering with Mission in Citrus with their web presence and SEO for the charity overall (was asked to help... and you're darn right I will!); allowing me to put forth my best effort to advance a wish I have had for over 20 years... to help a business with it's IT department AND to advance my own interests in web marketing.So many opportunities opening... and granting one thing long since denied (IMO): HOPE.This place is where angels rest their wings. I have seen this.Folks on their downside aided with the tools to get their own life back on track. It's NOT Jim's job to do so... it's a service he himself espouses as per his Christian Faith to those who gave their word and their blood to defend this nation. Not for personal gain, either... he's doing it because he WANTS to see his charges happy, healthy, living right, and ON THEIR FEET.It's not 'a handout' around here, either. Residents are expected to be 'grown folk' about things: Keeping the bills paid, the house presentable, and all of us 'work' the facility as it's our job... because it's WE who are the 'face' of Mission in Citrus. WE who are the culinary staff, the maintenance team, the IT department (raises hand)... US. Not some outside agency, not some group reliant on outside funding (such as DVA, a church, etc.) and that is by design - it allows our facility to work with a level of autonomy for its members no other place - in this county, state, or possibly the nation - can match.It gives we who live here a renewed faith in ourselves and our own abilities. It aids our Fraternity members who may suffer psychological issues opportunity to resocialize as men and women, as Humans. It's OUR house, so to speak... to treat with respect... This, though a temporary shelter, is our HOME. These men and women, Fraternal brothers and sisters, our family. And this... we'll defend.HOOAH.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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.

uncle bernie

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Mission in Citrus is an inter-faith homeless shelters with four locations serving veterans, women and children and families. The Mission in Citrus serves over 90 % of the large number of the homeless in Citrus County, Florida. It constantly has to fight the county government administration who feels that homelessness does not exist in Citrus County. The Mission also serves countless homeless in the woods throughout Citrus County. If given the opportunity the Mission in Citrus could eliminate homelessness in Citrus County.

The annual budget to serve over 1,200 souls in 2013 is less than other homeless organizations marketing budgets with only 35 people being served.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Mission in Citrus serves over 90% of the homeless in Citrus County, Florida. No one gets a salary for working there but give back to the mission for what the mission has done for them, turn their lives around. 100 % of funds donated go directly to programs that help build up the self-worth and self-esteem, get jobs and help the homeless find future homes so they can become independent and self supporting.

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5

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

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

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As a non-profit worker with experience in homelessness for the past four years, I am often on the lookout for ministries and shelters that are DOING, rather than saying. The Mission, with their open door policy and come as you are attitude, are one of those rare finds.

Review from Guidestar