Ms. Benson takes pride in her home which her mother had left to her when she passed. She moved in with her sister and spends most days together fixing up their home and taking care of their pets. These simple tasks can be challenging with both of them having hindering health issues.

But her 1943 St. Petersburg home was her baby, a baby that needed a lot of work. She was happy to have her grandchildren visit and spend nights with her. But the windows were painted shut, the roof was in disrepair, termites had begun to eat away at the outside paneling and her electric bill was unmanageable.

After some time of hard work, rising prices, and no improvements in their health, Ms. Benson decided it was time to seek further help. She had heard the horror stories of senior citizens being scammed, identities being stolen, and losing everything. She didn’t want to take this risk. But with her children and grandchildren living quite a distance from her, her and her sister couldn’t do it on their own and she couldn’t afford it.

Once she looked into home repair loan programs, she landed in the office of Tampa Bay CDC. She met with the staff and was approved to move forward in beginning the necessary improvements to make her home, safe and comfortable again.

She chose a general contractor who she felt most comfortable with and knew would look out for her best interests. He kept her updated with every new improvement. In six weeks she had new energy efficient windows, a new roof, re-paneled siding, and a brand new AC.

Through these improvements Ms. Benson has had a major improvement in her lifestyle both financially and medically. As an asthmatic, she can breathe better, take less medication and spend more time enjoying life. With new windows and a new AC unit, her electric bill has gone down $50 a month.

Looking back, we asked her what her thoughts were on the program in which she replied, “If anybody ever asked me about it, I would say; ‘go for it, go for it. Because you’re not going to be sorry at all.’”