South Florida’s Amazing Response to Betty

(WSVN) - She was despondent .. an $18 increase in her rent had left a South Florida woman fearing she was going to be homeless. Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser told you her story then, and now thanks to so many of you, her story tonight…

In seven days, South Floridians have made an enormous difference in Betty Crenshaw’s life.

Betty Crenshaw, South Florida helped: “I just feel happy now, happy because I know I am going to make it now.”

When you saw Betty last week, she did not think she was going to be able to make it…

Betty Crenshaw (previous HMH): “I’m doing the best that I can with the little bit of money I do get. I’m sorry, this is starting to get to me.”

Betty was living on her $928 social security check.

Subtract the $891 for her rent which includes 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.”

Betty was getting by … and proud of it.

Betty Crenshaw: “I’ve never gotten evicted from an apartment, even when I was young. I always paid what I needed to pay.”

But then in the middle of her lease, the landlord raised her rent $18. It’s $18 Betty did not have.

Betty Crenshaw: “The bottom has fallen out of the barrel. I don’t have nothing to scrape.”

Sadly, we had to tell Betty that since she was living in federal housing, her landlord could not only raise her rent today … he could raise it next month as well. And she could go from having a home to being homeless.

Then South Florida saw Betty on Help Me Howard.

Betty Crenshaw: “I knew there were magnanimous people, but this many? I didn’t know. I am surprised. I didn’t expect it.”

The emails and phone calls started pouring in right after her segment aired.

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

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.”

By the time our Help Me Howard producer Ambar Rodriguez and I, and our photographer Johnnie U. answered each email and returned each call, we had been in touch with more than 600 people — all wanting to help Betty.

Betty Crenshaw: “Now this one is for $200. ‘I feel blessed to be able to help you.'”

There are some big checks.

Betty Crenshaw: “Wow. ‘I was brought to tears by your story aired and the Help Me Howard Channel 7News.'”

But most were smaller — people also struggling … happy to help the lady who needed $18 a month more to get by.

Betty Crenshaw: “Thirty-six dollars. Oh, and a note. ‘Hope you never have to go through something like this again.'”

Betty Crenshaw: “This is another $36.”

Patrick Fraser: “What would you say to all those people who are giving you $20 from their social security check?”

Betty Crenshaw: “That is the most the most generous, caring blessing thing that there is.”

Not just money … people came by with more groceries than she has seen in years. Her freezer is now full, her cabinets stuffed and something she could never splurge on was brought over by a generous woman.

Betty Crenshaw: “Laundry detergent, dish detergent, soap, deodorant, toilet tissue, paper towels.”

Not only will Betty be helped — an organization who saw her on Help Me Howard wants to help her neighbors in the same situation…

Wayne Barton, Barton Study Center: “We’re going to bring in that much food here for this community, 100,000 pounds of food. You’re going to bless a lot of people.”

Betty had so little, and now wants to do so much.

Betty Crenshaw: “If anybody, no matter who it is, ever needs help, I am there. I am gonna do what I can to help them because when I needed it, they were there for me.”

So proud, so humble.

Betty Crenshaw: “I am gonna keep these notes.”

And now thanks to hundreds of wonderful South Floridians, she’s so grateful.

Betty Crenshaw: “For all these people, I just really thank them. I bless them.”

Stunning, just stunning. You are amazing South Florida … thank you.

Stressed and lost the zest to fight? Need a helping hand? Find a home with us. ‘Cause like many South Floridians, we have the heart to help.

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

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