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.
The mission in citrus is the best shelter group I have ever seen. They all survive on donations, that unfortunately they have to beg for. They have helped so many people, it is truly amazing. It is easy to see that they are a faith based organization and they give God all the glory. Everyone please please donate to this group. They do so much with so little. I first began donating when the shelter first opened and now they have grown to over 5 shelters!!! They help people find jobs, offer hope when it seems imposible. If I could only give to one organization this would be it
This group has used our donations in an extremely frugal way to help as many clients as possible on so little. I'm convinced that my donation is serving the most people because of its low overhead.
Review from Guidestar
I am an RN and a veteran of the USMC and have worked in Kingston, Jamaica with abandoned and severely handicaped children. In addition, I volunteered in Long Beach Mississippi and New Orleans after hurricane Katrina. I know first hand how individual lives can be changed when they know someone cares. When a person has lost everything it would be so easy for that person to just give up or turn to a life of crime. The everyday things we take for granted mean everything to them not only to survive but to give them hope and a sense of well being and feeling of usefullness. The Mission in Citrus does this and so much more; they offer safety, food, shelter, friendship, faith, assist with employment and educational opportunities and so much more. The world needs more people like James Sleighter whom truly care about others. May God Bless and help this wonderful organization to prosper and help all who need their services.
Review from Guidestar