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.
Hello. My name is David and I am newly homeless for the first time in my life. I recently turned 50. I'm probably not your stereotypical homeless guy. I tell you this because like many people in the world I thought this could not happen to me. I've always heard that many people live paycheck to paycheck and are only two weeks from homelessness. So here I am. I have a degree. Have worked at the Director level at Fortune-500 companies in retail for 25 years. I am a veteran of the US Army. I have medical certifications, training and experience. I've volunteered throughout my life so I've known a lot about homelessness from that side. Now it is me that's homeless. I want to share my story with you so that you don't end up like me and many others. Also, so that you can better understand how to help if your so inclined. If so, read on.
Because I was laid off in NC I couldn't pay my insurance which resulted in the loss of my license. While trying to work was stopped twice for expired tag, driving with suspended license and consequently went to jail over it. I had a tax return and spent every penny on my van. I lived out of my van but was able to work and live knowing I was on my way out of this horrible hole I had dug for myself. Stacking on another bad decision I purchased a tag for $10 from a man trying to save money and the tag had been stolen. I now have a “Petty theft 1st offense” conviction preventing me from working in any job in my retail or sales fields. I lost my van, my home and all of my belongings while in jail for 20 days.
I was accepted into a homeless shelter recently but their restrictions were difficult. I was ejected daily from 7am to 3pm. So I had a roof, food and bed. Now I just had to find that impossible job where I was within walking distance from 8am-2pm daily. Although my resume looks great on paper there were no retail jobs where I would pass a background check. That means my 25+ years of experience, hard work and education are now null and void. No job existed so I chose to live in the woods in a shelter I built so I could be available to work each day at a local labor pool. There were no guarantees for work just because I showed up each day at 5:30am. I have met many wonderful people while homeless including the Pastor that gave me my steel toed boots so that I may work.
I finally found out about this place where I am now. This place I call home. The Mission of Citrus. I am currently at the veterans shelter but have also been to the regular sister shelter as well. While I am grateful for the help I received at other shelters I am now much more grateful to be here. The difference is simply night and day, black and white. Between my decades of volunteer work and now recent experience being homeless I thank God I found them. The Director Jim Sleighter, the staff, volunteers as well as tenants have helped me more than I can state in this letter. They are empathetic to the Veterans problems and situations as well as respectful and loving to each other. They provide not just a roof, food and clothing but give us every tool imaginable to help us and allow us the dignity to help ourselves. They are God fearing and loving people. We have the freedom and tools to get back on our feet and back into life again. Whether your needs are transportation, legal, physical or mental medical benefits, employment assistance and training, school or education improvements, housing assistance or simply inspirational advice they seem to have it all.
I have been approved for temporary housing already. I now have a part time job and was hired for an awesome job the other day. I try to be positive but I have to assume I will fail the background check due to my Petty Theft conviction. I do have hope. My problems are fading away and are hopefully short lived. I am grateful for basics such as food and shelter. Its the other tools they offer that have made this homeless nightmare come to a positive end. Of course, I thank God for putting them in my path. They have also inspired me to continue to help others as I hope you will too. In summary please help these good people any way you can. Please support Jim Sleighter at The Mission In Citrus and others who are professionals with homeless assistance.
PS: There is a difference between lying and being a liar. Taking a breather and being lazy. I fear that beauty and perception lye with the beholder. I do not fear that God will judge me. It is you that I fear.
The first time i got here to the mission i was afraid. I was thinking if everything was going to be alright for me and my three kids with other people there ,but thank God they received me and my kids with open arms like family and i really appreciate the mission for giving me and my kids the opportunity of being here,for opening the doors for me and my kids Thank God we have a place to stay .Thank you Mission In Citrus
My name is Jack i came to the mission in citrus with nothing but the clothes on my back and the staff is very friendly and they treat me very well if not for the mission i would still be living in the woods with no warm place to sleep or food to keep me warm and a safe place
The mission has done a lot for me and i like the atmosphere here and my sister brought me here and i am off the streets and have a warm bed and the staff is very wonderful and james sleighter is a wonderful person and i also have food and running water
i am very thankful for this place.. they have me out.. if wasn't for them i am not sure where i would be.. they have taken a lot of stress off shoulders.. i am working hard on getting my child back and they are helping to me get her.. i even got a job.. i am just thankful for a roof over my head, clothes, food, and bed to sleep in..
my name is michelle dorman i come to the mission about 4 months ago and it has taught me me to be more aware and the mission staff katherine romanowski and jim sleighter and john romanowski are the best people they are caring loving respectful the mission is the best i dont know where i would of been with out the mission i have never been in this situation but im glad i came here they help with finding work and with encouragement to all of us i just love all here
the humble mission in citrus unlike most shelters any where a safe harbor where people matter and people really care and it is a good shelter to be at
hello my name is Jessica Willis i am homeless and four months pregnant and the mission has helped me in so many ways and i'm very thankful for them they helped me get home to my family for the holidays and i am greatly appreicieated.... they are truly a god send i have stayed here befofre and i have had the same experience that i had this time... they staff are so warm welcoming and very nice people and the residents are as well everyone helps everyone and you could not ask for a better place...
My name is Earl i came to stay at the mission in citrus after finding my self not wanting to be in the woods any longer and no place to sleep so the kind folks at the mission took me in and i am very grateful that they allowed me to be part of their family
My name is Jennifer I am a disabled veteran who was homeless and stayed at the Mission in Citrus. They have done such great work helping me and my family that I still go and volunteer there, I refer other veterans and homeless people to them and families in need. I also have let the director know that at anytime if there is someone that needs to speak with me about a situation close to what mine was I am available an will help. So much help was given to me and I love giving that help in return. The Mission is a blessing to everyone who's lives it touches.