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.
I am very very thankful for this mission. The people here have been friendly, and very helpful in my time of need. They've given me food, shelter, and helped with all my needs.
The mission in citrus is a blessing for the less fortunate who have encountered unfortunate circumstances in their lives. It is a place where no one is judged, and everyone is treated like a person instead of a statistic. After loosing my sons father, i was graciously embraced, and received things to help ease the burden of such a horrible time in our lives, and am still reached out to by Jim to assure we are doing ok. People have a stereo type of the homeless, and most times shy away, but fail to realize that at anytime, it could happen to them. Illnesses, deaths, financial, and even emotional hardships are not prejudice to anyone...it is a fact of life, and sadly it happens daily to folks just like me and you. Jim and his staff work diligently to help as many people as they can reach, up to and INCLUDING children, and infants. God bless.
I was homeless after I stayed with my sister for a month then I went to the mission in citrus . I have been homeless for over 4years due to the economy as well as family problems. My sister found the Mission in Citru Shelter so i would have a place to stay. Not only did the mission give me a place to stay,they helped me get food stamps. If not for Jim i would probably still be homeless.
The Mission in Citrus in one organization that I totally believe in. Its run by one man's trials and tribulations in life, not some corporation that just look at numbers. The success is unreal.
This is a wonderful program trying to help as many homeless people as possible.
Review from Guidestar
The Mission has been life-changing for me. I have seen first hand the generosity of people and the appreciation of the ones receiving.
My name is Katherine Hicks i come to live at the mission in citrus after losing my home it has been very good and everybody is very caring and understanding and i have been treated like i am actually family.
Review from Guidestar