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.
I am so proud and honored to be on the Board of The Mission in Citrus County. My heart is for people and that is the heart of Jim Sleighter, the Director. (I believe that is why God connected us ...love for people) Jim is not a man of politics but a man of compassion, who truly cares and is concerned for the homeless. There are so many misconceptions about the homeless, but I still have fond memories of the first time I walked into the shelter....the warmth and the love. I pray that God will bless this ministry beyond measure as Jim continues to do what God has called him to do in spite of hardships and trials. "Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me...Inasmuch as you do it unto one of the least of these my brethen you did it unto Me. Matt. 25: 34-36; 40. This passage truly describes the heart of Jim Sleighter.
I have been connected to the Mission In Citrus for about 18 months. The church that I minister to began interacting with the people from the MIC. It has been a great blessing to me and to my church. The MIC is truly a unique place. It is a place where people are caring, loving, willing to hold another to account, willing to give so that the MIC can sustain its ministry. Lives are being changed. The residents there are not looking for a handout, but need a hand to help them out of their current difficulty. As the only emergency shelter , their door is always open to help someone. I am convinced that the MIC is able to do more with less than any other organization I know of. Jim and the volunteers are doing a great job providing help to all who need it. Just because an individual is homeless does not mean that they are not important. That is evident from the minute you walk into the shelter.
I have been a part of Mission in Citrus Inc. as a Volunteer Employee for over a year now. I volunteer 40 hours a week for this amazing charity. Not one person who helps here gets paid. We all do it because we see a program that is non-traditional but IT WORKS!!!! The Mission has results unheardof. I am also a Member of Mission in Citrus Inc.'s Board of Directors. This charity is on it's way to bigger and better things, and I just wish we had more dedicated volunteers willing to help us with grants and fundraising, then this mission will have the funds it needs to operate and have programs desparately needed for the residents. What little programs this mission has its amazing the people it has helped.
Review from Guidestar
I am very proud of the homeless and have been blessed since I founded it in 2008. They have proven that they can help each other without paid staff when given the proper resources.
My name is Robert Brown. I moved back to Florida after a loss in My Family in 2009. After a couple months of being home I found myself down on my luck and homeless. I was at a appointment at the VA where I explained to the secretary my situation. She gave me information on a homeless shelter. I called the Mission In Citrus and talked to Jim Sleighter. After talking to him and said he would have someone come and get me and I could stay at the shelter. There I was able to make contacts with VA reps about Disability as well as Veteran Housing in Gainesville. I stayed at the Mission from June until October of 2009. Because of respect and dignity I was given and a warm family-atmosphere I was able to get to Gainesville and finish my disability case with the VA. With in 7 months I was back on my feet receiving my VA disability and moving back to Citrus County to live with My Future Wife and be closer to My Youngest Son. Because of the Love Shown I recently Joined on The Board and help out the Veteran's Shelter in Inverness,FL. Thanks Again Mission In Citrus and Mr Jim Sleighter!