Betty Gets Her Happily Ever After

(WSVN) - A small rent hike in her government subsidized apartment was about to leave her homeless. It was a story that created a reaction that amazed the people at Help Me Howard. Tonight, the answer to the question, what happened to Betty? Here’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

At Help Me Howard, she doesn’t need a last name anymore. We just say Betty.

Betty Crenshaw, saved by South Floridians: “I’m past cloud nine. If there is one higher than that? That’s where I am.”

Let me back up. When we first met Betty, the only cloud she thought about was that dark cloud hovering over her.

Betty Crenshaw: “I’m doing the best that I can with the little bit of money I do get, so, you know. Like I said, this is getting to me. I’m sorry about that.”

Betty was about to be homeless because of some simple math.

She lived on a $928 social security check. Subtract the $891 for her rent, which included lights and water.

Now subtract around $35 for her phone, leaving her with $2 spending money each month.

Betty Crenshaw: “So far I’m managing. I get $100 in food stamps, so that takes care of the food. Don’t buy a lot, but it’s enough for me.”

But then the landlord raised her rent $18. It’s $18 Betty did not have.

Betty Crenshaw: “And like I said, the bottom has fallen out of the barrel, so I don’t have nothing to scrape.”

Just $18 a month would keep a roof over Betty’s head.

Our story aired, and oh my gosh, did South Floridians respond — with hundreds of letters, emails and phone calls offering to help Betty.

Caller 1: “Like Miss Betty, I am on fixed income, but I have the extra $18 hike in her rent.”

Caller 2: “I am very touched with what is happening to her, and it just breaks my heart.”

Caller 3: “I don’t have a lot, but if it’s an $18 difference, I think I can afford that.”

Thanks to the generous donations of Channel 7 viewers, Betty’s cabinets were filled with food. Her freezer was stocked with meat. And then the money poured in. Nearly 700 people sent in cash and checks, small checks and big checks.

Betty Crenshaw (reading letter): “I was brought to tears by your story airing in the Help Me Howard, Channel 7 News. I feel blessed to be able to help you.”

Four months have passed. Betty is still shaking her head in disbelief.

Betty Crenshaw: “All the people who helped me, they still call me to check on me. I appreciate it. It makes me feel like there are people that care, and I love it. It makes you feel like you’re on top of the world.”

Betty is very frugal with the money given to her. She saved nearly every dollar and is moving out of her small apartment.

Betty Crenshaw: “The good news is now I can be comfortable in the new place. It’s bigger and it’s cheaper.”

Her new place has something Betty has always wanted: a second bedroom for her beloved books.

Betty Crenshaw: “I’m going to have a wall-to-wall bookshelf put in one of the bedrooms and put all my books up there.”

A bigger place, a cheaper place for a woman who is overflowing with thanks for people like you, who changed her life in an incredible way.

Betty Crenshaw: “And then when the rent went up, oh my God! I thought I was going to die, because I didn’t know what I was going to do, but people came to my rescue. I’m thanking God for all this help that I’ve gotten. I’m going to remember what people did for me, and then I’m going to do for them.”

People have asked me, “How much money was donated to Betty?” I don’t know. I never asked her, but not having that $18 a month was going to leave Betty homeless. Hundreds of people stepped up, people living on social security checks donating money to save Betty.

How thoughtful and generous. Thank you, South Florida, and hopefully you will have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, just like Betty.

The numbers not adding up as you try to solve a problem? Looking for some generous assistance? Contact us. We would be happy to donate our time. It’s what we do.


Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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