Instead of planning a vacation for her daughters this summer, Cynthia is homeless and searching for a safe place for them to live.
“If you had asked me in 2012, what I thought my future would look like, I would have never considered homelessness as a possibility,” says Cynthia, mom to Jessica (11) and Kyra (10). “Yet here we are. And while I know this is only temporary, the stress of being homeless is taking its toll.
From 2009 to 2012, things were going well for Cynthia and her two daughters. She had a steady job as a housekeeper at an assisted living facility in Brentwood. They were living with her sister, when an unexpected conflict forced her into making a quick decision to move. So she found an apartment.
What Cynthia thought was an answer to prayer, turned into her biggest nightmare. “I had no idea the apartment was infested with mold. At first, it was just a cough, then a cold, but eventually I developed asthma and my health quickly deteriorated. I was so sick and stayed sick for days at a time. I missed a lot of work and because of it; they had to let me go. They didn’t want to fire me, but based on their sick leave policy, they didn’t have a choice.” Ultimately, Cynthia decided it was more important for her health and the health and well-being of her children to move out.
The apartment complex wouldn’t let her out of the lease, even though there was mold. “They sued me for breaking my lease and now I have a judgment against me, which I’m paying off. But it also prevents me from getting approved by any other apartment complex.”
With nowhere else to go, Cynthia decided to turn to Nashville Rescue Mission. “I knew the Mission would have beds we could sleep in and meals we could depend upon. I knew we would be safe there.”
“Growing up, I never lacked for anything, I never wanted for anything… and honestly, I didn’t need anything,” recalls Cynthia. “It’s humbling to be at a point in my life where I have to depend on other people and the generosity of strangers for our most basic needs. But I’m so grateful. I appreciate Nashville Rescue Mission, the staff, the volunteers, and the donors. I don’t know where we would have gone were it not for the Mission.”
Cynthia is looking forward to the future. “I’m focused on saving money, re-establishing my credit so I can eventually move us into an apartment. One that is clean, safe, and free of mold. I know this is not the most comfortable situation for my daughters, but I remind them and myself regularly—this is not our home and it’s only temporary. And we are grateful for it.”
Not having a car limits Cynthia, but she still finds creative ways to create a sense of normalcy for her daughters. “We go to the library on days when it’s too hot, too cold, or rainy. When it’s nice outside, I like to take them to the park for a picnic. It helps to get away from the shelter environment. I try to take them out to eat at least once a month. Last month, we went to a Mexican restaurant and had a wonderful time of being together.”
When asked about taking a summer vacation, Cynthia replied, “The closest thing we’ve come to a summer vacation is going to Chuck E. Cheese or Monkey Joes. But one day, I’d like to take my girls to Florida. I’ve never been and I would love for us to go to the beach and see the ocean.”