MISSION IN CITRUS INC

Rating: 4.81 stars   216 reviews

Issues: Job Training, Food, Homeless & Housing

Location: 2488 North Pennsylvania Ave Crystal River FL 34428 USA

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 four shelters located in Crystal River, Floral City, 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 six years to help all in need with zero pay. 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 for money for their shelter which needs improvements or will be shut down. And that will be a tragedy. 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 $ 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
2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

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.

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

Help the director get more rest.

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?

2013

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

My name is Bernie and a professional volunteer advisor working with the Mission In Citrus in developing new programs that will help the people build self confidence, experience in development/planned giving, public relations, media contact and learning about the needs of the homeless. They are wonderful, hard working, dedicated and focused on getting back into the work force and eventually getting their own place.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

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

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

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

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

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Role: Professional with expertise in this field
Rating: 5 stars  

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.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing some of the students I know personally receive the help they need.

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

love to personally be more involved with it!

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Review from Guidestar