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. Sincerely, David 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.
Hello, my name is Bill. The stories are many and there are lives that have been turned upside-down for all of us who are now homeless. I am not going to give you a sob story of my own predicament because I want to give everyone hope for the future. That hope came to me by finding Mission in Citrus and Jim Sleighter who is the founder. Jim has a heart as big as the moon for the homeless. The veterans are especially close to his heart. The veterans shelter in Inverness has helped countless veterans get back on there feet. Many are now leading a happy and have a great new lease on life. If you know anyone in Citrus County that is homeless, please tell them about Mission in Citrus. We will help them if we can.
my name is Katherine I have come so far since coming to the mission I am now helping and also have a family that loves me for who I am
I have been at the mission in Citrus Veterans shelter for 4 years now. Over the past 2 years I had to fight cancer and beat it. Two and a half years ago I started to have severe tremors and now because I had a great VA doctor I am tremor free. I now have rods in my spine and am diabetic. I also have to wear a shoe that has a 2 inch lift on it. How many shelters do you know that would go through all of these problems that one man would have. At one time I was going to leave the mission but when I told my doctor my plans she told me that with my health the way it is I need to stay right where I'm at. Dr. Kirchech told me that I couldn't be in A better place. Now I am able to help out the Mission that I love so much and praise god for every day I wake.
john ive been sober 9 months inlaws n x sister didn't like that so x sister in law said I was cheating on my wife which I was not but they all belived x sister inlaw so I lost everything n also x sister said family never liked him anyway they held that in for 18 years so that is how I became homeless they said at the drop of a hat get out so I found this place n they r good people n we are all on hard times but we all make it work
I'm proud to donate my time and resources to the Mission in Citrus. They are saving lives in our community and providing people with a hand up not a hand out. The Director and The Board work tirelessly to help people get their lives back in order with dignity and compassion,
They not only provide a secure environment for the residents, they offer assistance in areas like job training and money matters, they help them in obtaining the resources they need to get back on their feet, help obtaining health and dental care etc.
The Mission strives to keep families together, help Veterans in need, and in general give people HOPE.
I'm grateful they exist in times like these and I'm grateful to know such a wonderful organization.
I have been treated fair ever since I came to the Mission. I was told about the Mission by a friend at a campground that I was staying at. I would recommend the Mission to anyone. The staff here does a really good job.
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
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.
I have been working here at Mission in Citrus since December and I must say that I look forward to coming to work everyday. It is such a nice environment, I am treated like family, as is everyone who comes here. Jim, the executive director, loves to help people and wants to help as many people as he can. He especially has a heart for veterans. If you give a donation to Mission in Citrus, your donation is going to a great cause!! And if you need a place to stay, I definitely recommend coming here.
i have been a resident on and off four times now. yes i could not get it right and i had to go back.this last time i was laying in a hospital bed with blood clots that almost killed me.thats when jim showed up to citrus memorial to see me. and he sat with me for about 15 or twenty minutes . then we prayed for my recovery .ladies and gentelmen you have to understand that jim runs all four shelters,his phone is constantly ringing , theres always something that pops up daily good or bad but that is everyday life.i have called him when i was in dallas texas , california ,washington , no matter what time i called he was always there for me. if it was not for the mission and the kind hearts of the staff i dont know what would of happend to me. all i can say is thank you all . im starting a new life again . may GOD bless you all
I love the Mission in Citrus! The people are very nice. I have plenty of food and I'm welcomed here with opened arms.
It was fine I thought it to be a lot worse but it ain't to bad accept getting up early
We fell on hard times and a friend took us by there and they were so kind and respectful and have always been helpful with any problem that has come up along the way. They have most of the time had an answer to whatever the situation was at the time without feeling left out in the cold. The group at the mission is a very caring group that can do a lot of good for what little we have to work with at times.
Review from Guidestar
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.
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.
I work with the homeless students in Citrus County. I attend Community meetings in Citrus County and work with people from other counties that also serve homeless students. I know firsthand what a blessing it is to have a place that will allow children to stay when their family is need. There are many counties in Florida that do not have any type of Shelter and most cannot take children. It is such a joy to see children safe, clean, fed and ready to go to school without worrying where they will sleep at night. Thank you, Jim and all of the Missions’ supporters. Great things come from a Manger.
So many lives, so many ages, so many genders all in serious need. The needs are all different from food, shelter, medical, education and jobs. Looking at the men, women, and children as they struggle to pull themselves back up into independence is not easy. When I am there at the Mission in Citrus trying to help, I see much caring by all and this isn't just those that are in volunteer positions to help. It is everyone there. They all care about others and are always lending a helping hand. With being able to find an open arm environment at the MIC, so many are able to look at their lives, do what is needed, get back to work and stabilize themselves. Isn't that what we all want? With so much healing that has happened at the MIC, lives are being changed! Each person there has their own story, definitely in need and working on their own needed individual goals. When this happens, the MIC is very thankful because the MISSION IN CITRUS is in existence to be help!
As a volunteer with the mission, I have come to believe, that The Mission in Citrus is a true lifeline to many women, men, and children who are in need of assistance with their basic life needs. Being founded by a man who became homeless himself, the grounding of the mission is to help all. After dealing with the immediate needs of food and shelter, the ultimate goal of the mission is to help individuals deal with their own needs, rise above them in whatever way is needed (medical, educational, emotional, etc.) and regain their independence. While this is going on, all residents take part in maintaining the mission whether it is office, building and grounds maintenance, transportation, etc. needs; they all pitch in and keep the day-to-day operation going with the end resulting in everyone becoming a part of the Mission in Citrus family. The mission has grown from their original housing to 5 shelters with one being specifically for veterans who have become homeless. With all ages arriving at the mission, the need has grown rapidly in our small rural county and the mission has been an immense part of helping put many lives back together. When lives have been broken and individuals have no where to go, the Mission in Citrus is always there to give help and hope for the future; and to be able to observe this in the lives of many men, women and children has been a life-changing experience.
A great place for those in need. An open relationship built on trust and Gods love. People helping people. Jim is a great man! God bless.
A place build on trust, love and the meaning of family - for many who have no one. They share the heartaches, the pains and the smiles. They are a support system to each other. Jim does an amazing job leading them....many others pray for them. The Mission rocks!!
The Mission In Citrus is the most awesome program that I have seen. There is no other program like it in the whole United States. I would make sure that I would recommend the Mission In Citrus to anyone I come across that is in need.
I have been with The Mission in Citrus for two years.I came here as a homeless person who was suicidal and didn,t have anything to live for. i lost custody of my kids and had no faith in life to live and so i started helping out at the shelter.Helping answer phones and counseling the girls who was down and out and also suicidal. Helping them helped me. This shelter has saved my life. i am know married to my wonderful husband and the father of my kids. whom also lives at the shelter too. i am now in my kids lives everyday.i have not try to commit suicide for over 2 years now. The mission has saved my life and many others. people are not judge here for their past and when we fall they are there to lift us up.The Mission is a family and they don,t take our freedom away from us we are encourage to find work and to move on in life.Without the Mission there would be a lot of people without help and hope in life. So thank you to the Mission in Citrus!
I Have been associated with Mission in Citrus for the past three years though Real Life Christian Church. The Mission does an amazing job helping the homeless. I am always amazed at how they do so much with so little. Their finances are thread bare, and even though those running the Mission do receive a salary they remain dedicated. The homeless at the Mission act like a family. Those fortunate to enough to find work provide a significant part of the financial support required to run the Mission. Becoming homeless is not something any of us want to happen to us, but the people at the Mission somehow manage to keep a positive attitude. This speaks highly of the homeless and the highly of the leadership at the Mission.
For me this place has help me really get back to a functional member of society. I have learned through my faults what it was i needed to overcome. Jim has been there for us anytime we needed help or an ear to talk to. As have other individuals there. I have been to other places but they are all different. This one however has been me open to us finding work, having visits whenever, and other activities these other shelters only talk about but never let you actually get out and do. I give Jim props because it takes alot to run all these house and deal with so many different people all day. I wish there were more places like this out there for people who are in a bad spot in life. My praise goes out to Jim and all his help and clientel.
Review from Guidestar
My experience with Mission in Citrus Inc. is as a homeless resident. I came to hear about Mission in Citrus from a former resident. This was in December 2010 and i still reside today. I came here with only a few clothes in a small backpack. No job, no money, and definately no hope. Not in myself or even hope of landing a decent job to get my life back. Or what i thought was a life. How can one enjoy life when they continuously walk around in an alcoholic haze? There was a time that i would tell a tale of bad luck. Anything to get the root of the problem off my shoulders. People in AA call this denial or the blame game. Truth is I am an alcoholic of the worst kind, to top that off i have, in the past, never held myself accountable for my drinking. Not even with all the legal trouble. Never seeing the real wrongs that i did to myself and the people who let me in their lives. Then i arrived at Mission in Citrus only to see that a change was sorely in need.
After being here for a while, spending time with Betsy, (the assistant director) And seeing what it is that Jim and his staff are trying to do for people like me as well as so many others, it is very hard to continue on the destructive path i was on. I have, even here. To this day I cannot see what it is that Jim saw in me to keep me here til i got myself staight. Honestly? Jim could have kicked me out a few times, i also could have left as well, which i have. But he didn't and something kept bringing me back. Jim and Betsy will give all the credit to God. they always say that He really runs the Mission. I am definately coming around to the thing i always called "the faith thing". What i have seen in the last few months. I can see the validity of faith and how it does work if you only try it. Only when i came around and turned to faith did i get a job, stop drinking, (only briefly but still working on it) and now looking to do something to help those in my position. Give back something of myself to others, give back ANYTHING for a lifetime of selfishness.
Upon seeing the amazing things that have happend here (even in my short residency) i know all things are possible. With God of coarse, and with people that actually care about the forgotten, the abused, the broken. We all have our pasts they are all different, but they all ultimately led us here. Ony to be healed, fixed, and loved like family. It will take awhile for me to get in a position to do some good. Obviously i can't do anything for other alcoholics for i would not trust myself without at least a year of sobriety. but it is a good goal that might be possible some day. However, in the mean time, i can continue to work, and do the best that i can for my new family. Even if it is just doing what i am told to help out, or simply staying sober.
As a matter of fact this story is my first attempt at helping out with the inner workings of Mission in Citrus. This is a homeless shelter and even when it is that i get out and into my next appartment or home, i want to, and will be here to help any chance i get!! Simply stated this is the best home i have ever known, and the best family.
Review from Guidestar