Brenda Brown had just awakened from a nap one day this past spring when she felt a tightening in her chest. She couldn’t breathe. With a history of diabetes and heart problems, she called 9-1-1 for an ambulance and was taken to the hospital, where she was told she was experiencing a heart attack.
And just like that, the 58-year-old Sarasota woman who gets by month-to-month on disability income suffered a setback both medically and financially.
In the hospital and with added out-of-pocket expenses for new medications – along with the half-dozen she has to take every day – Brown missed payments on her water bill.
“I started falling behind once I went to the hospital,” she said.
Brown was referred to Senior Friendship Centers in Sarasota, a nonprofit that helps people older than 55. They helped her get a Season of Sharing grant in May to pay almost $160 for late utility charges.