Just a couple of days before her 94th birthday, the police came to arrest Juanita Fitzgerald, a 93-year-old resident of a Florida senior living facility.
Officers handcuffed her and carried her from the apartment while leaving every one of her belongings behind.
Apparently, she had been late on her rent payment, which at the time was $161.
A devastated Juanita Fitzgerald was kicked out of her senior home in Florida for not paying rent and arrested by police on a charge of trespassing after a warning.
According to a police report seen by the station, Ms Fitzgerald told officers: “Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere.”
As officers attempted to escort her from the front lobby, Fitzgerald “intentionally slid out of her chair and onto the floor,” according to the report.
At one point she grabbed the glasses from a deputy’s face.
Juanita had lived at the senior home since 2011, before being evicted. The house has 46 residents. It’s part of National Church Residences, a religious housing nonprofit based in Ohio.
Everything that she had was now gone, Juanita claimed. Her biggest concern was that the facility would no longer allow her to come back.
“I don’t have anybody. My family is in Tennessee and I told them not to tell my son anything that’s going on,” she said.
93 year old Juanita Fitzgerald says she tried to pay her rent but was refused. Says she did not tell them she was dying to get out of paying rent. She says that's a lie! Also says she's never been arrested before but has faith God will get her through! News 6 WKMG / ClickOrlando pic.twitter.com/JjE4wifKlx
— Adrianna Iwasinski (@AIwasinski) December 14, 2017
Fitzgerald also said she tried to pay her rent and was refused.
Reports of her arrest — two days before her 94th birthday — had been publicized nationwide and that prompted efforts to help her.
Luckily, her $500 bail was posted and Juanita was released from her cell.
The senior citizen was able to spend her birthday out from behind bars. Juanita was later taken cared of by the Mid-Florida Homeless Coalition and put into a nearby motel after her bail was posted and she was free to go.
The organization wanted to make sure that the elderly lady didn’t end up on the streets after being released from jail.
The organization’s board member, B.E. Thompson, stated that they are working with her in order to accommodate her as quickly as they possibly can.
But Juanita continued to refuse help from state officials and social service agencies.
Karen Twinem, a spokesperson for National Church Residences, told WKMG Ms Fitzgerald had said she would not pay rent because she thought she would die soon.
Juanita stated that she did offer half of all of her properties, but the facility turned the offer down.
Luckily, Juanita is now receiving the assistance she needs, with the help of a local Florida resident. A GoFundMe page was set up for her to help with her housing situation.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Juanita was born in Kentucky and prefers the King James Bible over any other version.
She has a second child, who also lives in Tennessee. Both are from her first marriage when she eloped at 17, she said. She divorced her second husband in 1970.
“Lord, the living I’ve done since then,” Fitzgerald said.
What do you think about arresting a senior citizen because of a late rent payment?
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