Blind woman left homeless through no fault of her own

OKEECHOBEE – Through no fault of her own, 64-year-old Gloria Sims, who is legally blind, will soon be homeless. Ms. Sims and her little chihuahua lived happily in the same two-bedroom mobile home for five years with no problems at all until the owner of the mobile home passed away. She said after he died, the new owner decided he did not want pets in his properties and he evicted her.

Lake Okeechobee News/Cathy Womble
Ms. Sims was evicted from her home and needs a new place to live.

She was in the process of finding a new place to live when she got sick and ended up in the ICU. She was in the hospital for the month of June and July, but of course when she got out, she still had to pay rent because her things were still in the mobile home, so she had no money left to find a new place. Most places want first, last and often want a security deposit.

She was discharged from the hospital early in order to attend the eviction hearing, and the judge gave her ten days to get her belongs out of her former home. She said she rented a small warehouse space but was not able to get all of her things out and she is not allowed to go back to it or she will be put in jail because she has been officially evicted. She called everyone she could think of to try to get help moving her things to storage, but there was no help at the last minute like that, she said. She was able to get a little bit of stuff out though.

So, she is just stuck, she said. She has her little dog, Lucky, and she has nowhere to put him. She walks with a walker. She gets Social Security, but it doesn’t come in until the first of the month and if it weren’t for a health organization putting her in a motel for a couple nights, she would be out on the street now, she said.

She has always paid her own way. She believes you pay you pay your bills first and then live on what is left, but now she doesn’t know what to do. She has no money and no home, and she doesn’t understand how this happened. She was minding her own business, paying her bills and living her life — not bothering anyone, and now she is homeless.

She is looking for a place to rent for approximately $500-$550 per month, but right now, she does not have any money to get into a place at all. She needs help finding a place to live and getting into it.

If anyone has any leads or would like to help her, they can contact her friend Donna Dean at Lighthouse Refuge. Her number is 863-801-9201.

Ms. Sims has had a difficult life, but she has always tried to make the best of it. She was born with polio, and had to learn to cope with blindness.

“A lot of people were born with polio back then,” she said. “Our legs are shorter. We don’t walk right. Oh well, I’m over that.” She grew up pretty much taking care of herself, she said, and was in and out of the foster care system. “It was a mess. I’m surprised I’m still standing here,” she said.

She is surprised at the things she has managed to accomplish and most of it has been on her own. She was married and widowed three times. “Sometimes I feel like Elizabeth Taylor working on Henry the Eighth I am, I am,” she joked. “There is nothing for anyone to feel sorry for me about though. It has been an interesting journey. There was a surprise around every corner. Oh well, It couldn’t get any worse. Oh wait. I better not say that,” she laughed. “I’m usually a very funny person. I want to have fun with you all the time instead of being sad.”

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