INVERNESS, Fla., Dec. 8, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Walmart seen the vision of Founder and Executive Director James Sleighter of the Mission in Citrus Homeless Shelters...An RV capable of serving those in rural America. An RV, purchased with a $50,000 grant from Walmart, will be used to get humanitarian supplies to Citrus County's homeless veterans, inform homeless veterans of benefits and get data on the homeless population.
The 32-foot RV is making the Mission in Citrus Angels on Wheels program a reality.
There is nothing subtle about the new vehicle serving the homeless veterans and others in Citrus County Florida. The eye-catching RV arrived last week, and just its outward appearance has people taking notice. One side depicts the Vietnam War Memorial and the other has an aircraft carrier with a fighter jet screaming aloft, representing the more recent and current conflicts.
Other graphics include the emblems of all branches of the military, a flag and a screaming eagle. Under them are words that underline the Mission's purpose: "No Veteran Should Be Homeless."
"Six years ago I started working on this project," said James Sleighter, Mission Founder and Executive Director. "This is the answer to my prayer." The big two foot letters are for a good reason. No one can miss the message. The RV was funded by a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation's State Giving Program, which Sleighter successfully pursued. He hopes that other corporations will pitch in and support the project. The project's success depends on continued support.
In the future he plans for the RV to have networking capabilities too, so veterans can apply for services on the spot. Most homeless veterans are not even aware that help is available...
Overall, he sees the RV as a realistic mobile tool to effectively assist the county's rural homeless population by reaching out with services. Once proven effective, their hopes are that many other groups will follow their lead. This is the answer to rural veteran outreach. Mobile services reach more veterans.
And when it comes to acknowledging the needs and numbers of the county's homeless, especially homeless veterans, Sleighter is an outspoken critic of the status quo.
"The Walmart Foundation is very pleased to be supporting these organizations that play such an important role in communities across the state," said Jeff Caples, Walmart regional general manager for North Florida, when the grants to Mission in Citrus and other organizations were announced. "Our mission is to create opportunities so people can live better."
Phase 1 of the Mission's program will start at the end of December, when the RV will be used to provide basic humanitarian aid — tents, sleeping bags, medical supplies and emergency food — to the homeless veterans living in the woods. Sleighter explained they will identify the major camps and areas the homeless veterans can get to and obtain emergency help.
"Seventy percent of our effort is for veterans, 30 percent for others," he said. "We really want to help the vets, but we help anybody."
The Mission in Citrus operates a veteran's shelter in Inverness, Florida and has veterans in their shelters in Crystal River, Florida. They have been helping veterans since 2008.Their shelters are operated by formerly homeless veterans. Who better to know their needs? Sleighter has new projects in the works that can house many more veterans than
HUD – VASH and other programs that are slow to action. Florida's allocation of Veteran's Affairs HUD-VASH Vouchers only amounted to an average of 11 per county. Virtually making it impossible to end veteran homelessness.
The dedication will be at the Inverness Walmart at 10 am on December 11th. They have invited Marco Rubio to see his support for homeless veterans on his own home turf.
Sleighter hopes that many share his message to reach Congress in a big way…
SOURCE Mission in Citrus