Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Homeless Power loses Cyndi Demuth

Our heart and prayers go out to the Homeless Power Project as we all grieve the deathof our homeless sister Cyndi and her unborn child. We need to take our tears and turnthem into rage and ensure that we PUT AN END TO HOMELESSNESS in our RICH Country.


Rest In Peace Cyndi.

Cheri Honkala
On Behalf of the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign

Date: Tue, 4 Mar 2008 09:56:03 -0800From: info@homelesspower.org

To: cherippehrc@hotmail.com

Subject: HOMELESS POWER loses Cyndi Demuth

Dear Friends of the Homeless Power Project,

Cyndi Demuth, Nashville Homeless Power Project Leader, Friend to many
Born in 1971 - Died February 2008

"I love to talk to people, you know and if I can make somebody else smile, somebody who's out here like I am, if I can just give'em a hug or a smile, that makes me feel good."

It is with great sadness that we share that we have lost one of our leaders this last week. Cyndi, several months pregnant, died while sleeping out in the streets. While the exact cause of death is not known, she was a brittle diabetic who often came close to diabetic comas because of difficulty managing her blood sugar while surviving on the streets.

Cyndi is best remembered for always celebrating life, being a positive person, who always acknowledged the bright side of every situation. She was a faithful member of the Power Project and one of the first vendors of new paper, the Contributor. More than that, she was a friend to so many of us on the streets. Below is a short autobiography that Cyndi wrote in the recent book- Homeless Power!

Cyndi Demuth
I'm 36, born and raised in Montana. Graduated high school class of 1989. I've been here for the last three and a half years. Nashville and the surrounding areas.

I worked at McDonalds, was a closing manager at McDonalds in Lavern. I've kinda done a little of everything. Most of it's been fast food, restaurant work. But the best job I can honestly say I've ever had was when I was when I worked for Direct TV.

I've been at the Nashville Homeless Power Project for several months, I love what I do with the Power Project. I got involved and started doing outreach and learning how to organize. I brought it up to my team up in the office to do something like Habitat for Humanity, but to do something like Habitat for the Homeless, because in Nashville there are enough abandoned buildings and hotels that we could get, and work on them and get them going, get transitional living, wrap-around services and get people off the streets.

You know, most of the people who are homeless around here are because of the lack of affordable housing. In Nashville it sucks pretty bad. So, that's why we're doing what we can with the Mayor and the Council to get what they promised us: 200 units a year and we're going on to the third year now but we've only got 84 units that's it.

I will not go to the Women's Rescue Mission. I just don't like the way they treat people. And the way I was treated. I was banned because I'm also a brittle diabetic and my blood sugar gets too low so they gotta call 911. They said I was a health risk.

I've only been in a few homeless shelters in my hometown and in Morehead, Minnesota and they have a church, called Churches United for the Homeless, but those places will actually help you get the services needed to get people up off the streets. Here they don't. The missions do not do that. I think it's weird myself. Because I was like, you know, if y'all are complaining about the homeless, why don't you do something to help get them up off the street? In Minnesota they've got affordable housing, especially when Governor Ventura was in office. He actually did something to get affordable in the state of Minnesota, and it's still growing.

Us homeless, lot of us do work. But its just, down by the men's mission they have like five temp agencies. They pay daily and their pay is very minimal. It's like 5 bucks an hour. And it's really difficult when you're trying to survive its hard because you can get 30 dollars a day. It's really difficult especially if they work late enough and can't not go to the mission. I have a couple friends of mine, they both work through a temp service. And they're just barely surviving staying at one of the hotels.

There are churches that feed every day lunch and dinner but if your working and you can't make it to the churches that are feeding you're kind of pretty much screwed as far as eating and things like that. I'm a diabetic and most of the bars downtown have gotten to know me now, and my blood sugar drops I go in and they give me orange juice. But the hard part about is that the orange juice will help, but only for a little bit, I need actual food to go with it.

I'm generally a real happy person. I do have depression also. But I like to give a person a smile because a smile is free to give away. And, I love to talk to people, you know and if I can make somebody else smile, somebody who's out here like I am, if I can just give'em a hug or a smile that makes me feel good. Cuz one day I was out there by the busses and all I did was smile at this gentleman walking by, smiled at him, said good morning to him, he came back and handed me a $10 bill. And I looked at him and said "what's that for?" At the time I didn't need it. And he said, "Just for giving a smile and saying good morning." So you know, I made his day better.


Nashville Homeless Power ProjectHomeless Organizing the Homeless & Working for Solutions42 The Arcade, Nashville, Tennessee 37219Office: (615) 733-0633 Cell: (615) 569-4740info@homelesspower.org http://www.homelesspower.org/