Our 96% success record did not happen by chance.It happened because of hard work and dedication..Transperancy , caring, and working outside of the box..Join us on a journey where no shelter has gone before..Help and be a part of our continued success. Those in this picture are now in homes, school, Tractor Trailers, and all are doing well..The Mission in Citrus Veteran's shelter has operated on a budget that many ask me ..How ?
It is because we have learned to stretch a dime into a dollar, Corporation partnerships, and many donations of our daily needs. Our budget is about 25% of many other shelters of our size.
Bob receiving his HUD VASH Voucher and what he thinks of our Veteran's shelter..Posted on Great Nonprofits.
Knowing I would be homeless within four days, and having received no help whatsoever from the Homeless Veterans 1-800 hotline (and in state of near panic, I might add), on a whim and as a last resort I decided to look up "Shelters" in the Citrus County yellow pages. I dialed the Mission number and spoke to the executive director, Jim Sleighter, personally. I told him my situation; that I'm a 62-year-old honorably discharged Army vet in dire need of a place to temporarily stay, to hang my hat so to speak, until I got back on my feet. Jim asked one simple question of me: Do you have a copy of your DD214? (that's military discharge papers to you civilians out there). I replied yes, and Jim told me to come to the shelter whenever ready as he could always make room for one more homeless veteran. Three days later I arrived with all my belongings packed into a suitcase and a travel bag and was warmly welcomed by Jim himself and several homeless residents of the shelter.
Long story short, Jim put me into contact with several veterans-friendly organizations "not on the map", so to speak. And through HUD/VASH , and the devoted, caring labor of case worker Barbara ("Bobbie") Shaw, I was able to have a housing voucher issued to me . As social security is my only means of income (remember: I'm 62, so obviously I started collecting early retirement, and believe me, it's not much to live on) H/V will require just 30% of my income in order to pay my share of the rent in a low-income apt. complex. This is nothing short of a godsend; a lifesaver thrown to a man about to drown in a hard-enough-to-survive-in world; and I have none other than Jim to thank for it all. May God bless that man; he's sure 'nuff earned his place in Heaven -- and that you can take to the bank, my friend.
Another Veterans speaks out..
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.