Strangers step up to help elderly Hollywood woman threatened with eviction

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A 91-year-old grandmother is receiving help from a concerned resident in order to help keep a roof over her head.

Before Friday, Yvonne King and Jeremy Mathis were complete strangers, but after seeing the 7News story about her impending eviction from her house in Hollywood, he knew he had to do something to help.

King, who is partially blind, is being forced out of the home that she’s owned for 50 years. She owed back taxes, and she said a relative offered to pay them if she signed the property over with a quitclaim deed.

Months later, she learned she had until Monday to move out. “I did not know the man was going to take my house,” she said.

That relative, King said, never answered any of her phone calls until she saw him in court.

Mathis said her story resonated with him. “This happened, actually, to a family member, and I just felt compelled to move,” he said. “My mom always taught us to do for others what God put you in a position to help other people out, and I’m in a position to help her.”

Mathis immediately texted his litigation attorney, Ryan Shrouder, who spoke to 7News about the situation on the phone. “We have a legal responsibility and a moral responsibility to our older population,” he said, “to make sure they’re not victimized or taken advantage of.”

James and Mathis spoke with Shrouder via speakerphone while 7News cameras were with them. “I’m going to file a motion to stay so that you won’t have to leave until we get this figured out,” said Shrouder.

The attorney filed an emergency motion on the last possible day.

King expressed her gratitude for her new guardian angel. “Jeremy, as you walk along the way, God is with you, and God will ever bless you,” she said. “Your hands will never go dry.”

That wasn’t all Mathis did. He also brought King lunch.

“Isn’t that nice?” she said as she unwrapped the container filled with seafood.

Mathis wasn’t the only concerned resident who reached out to 7News. Dozens emailed the station asking how to help.

Among them were Coral Springs-based attorneys Bill Kennedy and Andy Rosenberg, who offered pro bono services.

“We don’t know who’s right or who’s wrong here. I mean, [King’s relative] could be 100 percent entitled to that property,” said Kennedy, “but again, that’s up to the judge.”

“I don’t want anything in return,” said Mathis, “but what I do want, I want people to see this story and be compelled to help other people.”

“I thank them very much,” said King. “Yes, I appreciate that. I don’t want to leave my house. I find out that everybody loves me. All that comes in, even from those that don’t know me. God bless you all, everyone, God bless you all.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds to help King, If you would like to make a donation, click here.

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