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To help the homeless in Citrus County, Florida,through homeless shelters and services. To do our best to shelter,feed, and place them back into society. To create and implement new programs and services to reach the goal of ending homelessness.
Our Mission is to help all in need to the best of our ability. We follow the parable of the Good Samaritan, as there are no requirements for our services. And we know our program is second to none , as we constantly reinvent the wheel to make it all work. The faces of homelessness can change as well as each individual’s circumstances. And there have been very few that we have not been able to help. Veterans have become our priority as we have seen their suffering the most. The Mission has helped more homeless Vets in Citrus County than any other organization combined.
The homeless in rural Florida have proven that they can help each other without paid staff, when given the proper resources. Homeless Veterans, men, women, and children have shown that they can take a hand up, instead of a handout, and get their lives back. In less than two years there are now five shelters. Two for Veterans. Over two thousand people were helped back into society. Our success record is 90% and second to none.
The Mission in Citrus Homeless Shelters were founded after the Executive Director became homeless himself. His findings showed that traditional shelters were not working. Too many criminalize Homelessness. Most homeless are not criminal, they just need the resources to get their life back in order. A hand up, not a hand out.
We have overcome many obstacles in the past two years, from 60 tents to 5 shelters. We had major fights with everyone from the Fire Marshal, Sheriff's Dept, and many other agencies, including County Commissioners. We now have positive working relationships with all of them. We have earned their respect. We still have a long way to go. Grant writing is hard because there is little time after helping so many people each day. We beg for 90% of our operating funds. Over 1000 people were helped last year with less than $100,000.
Our long term goals are to share our system with others, and to increase our homeless Veterans beds by 150, by buying a motel. We hope to start a successful in-house drug and alcohol treatment shelter. The Mission could easily become a movie as so many miracles have occurred here. Last week when I turned 50, over 100 former residents, visited, Facebook me, emailed, or called. That does not happen at normal shelters. I am so proud they became a family and lift each other up. We are second to none. We have two quotes we use. I always say, "If we do not help them...Who will?" The Mission says, "We follow the parable of the good Samaritan." We help all in need. In our history, we have never failed to feed and help anyone who has entered our gates. We even take food and water into the woods and swamps.
- James Sleighter
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