Riviera Beach woman prays for help during Post sharing season

Catherine Rosendary, 92, finally found her place in the sun, when in 1946 she moved from her hometown in Savannah, Georgia, to the warm home of Riviera Beach where she still lives.

“I like the weather – it’s the only thing right off the bat,” she says of what drew her to South Florida.

The problem is, Rosendary’s place in the sun is now infested.

Cockroaches sneak into her fridge, and mice and rats have taken up residence by her side. And although the house is mostly concrete, termites have eaten away at the wooden frame, as well as kitchen and bathroom cabinets which had to be removed for safety reasons.

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Sticky traps designed to catch rats could have helped, she said, except that she ended up catching a creepy intruder she hadn’t expected.

“I woke up one morning and there was a snake on the thing! ” she said.

With no one to help her, Rosendary was left alone to take the snake outside. It still makes her shiver.

“I almost died, and now I think about it all the time,” she said.

No siblings and no kids to help

Rosendary’s eight siblings are deceased and she has no children, she said. She gives herself two insulin injections a day to control her diabetes.

A florist by trade, Rosendary lost her job when her former employer and closest friend developed cancer and passed away quickly, she said.

Rosendary volunteered at a thrift store for a while, she said, but while she can still walk and drive a car, she isn’t as mobile as she used to be.

Her four-year-old rescue dog, Baby Girl, needs vaccines, Rosendary said. But due to ongoing car issues and the high cost of gasoline, she said, she just couldn’t take the dog to the vet.

“When you get away with nothing you don’t have a pity party, you just do your best and keep going,” she said. “God will make a way one day. “

Catherine Rosendary, 92, at her home in Riviera Beach, Florida on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. A termite infestation forced her to pull down the cabinets to save the house.

While junk critters and missing cabinets are frustrating, Rosendary said, her biggest challenge is dealing with the old plumbing.

“I need the plumber in very bad shape, really bad,” she said. “The plumbing and water backflow are overflowing all over the house and the sink is shutting down all the time. ”

Rosendary hired an independent adjuster to help her file a claim with her insurance company for damage to her home from flooded pipes, said Sheila Fagan, a paralegal with the Elder Law Project of the Legal Aid Society. of Palm Beach County.

“They had their fees and then the funds remaining to resolve the issue weren’t enough to cover the claim,” Fagan said.

Water seeped behind Rosendary’s walls, causing dangerous electrical problems. His water was cut off until both could be fixed.

“I can’t do it anymore,” she said with a sigh. “I do not know what to do.”

Rosendary’s monthly Social Security benefit of $ 1,155 is just not enough to pay for water, electricity, property taxes, home insurance, and payments on the loans she took out to pay off other loans. After covering her debts every month, she says, she barely has enough to survive.

“I have between $ 200 and $ 300 a month to buy gas and food,” she said. “My car broke down last month and I was without a vehicle for about three weeks.”

Rosendary said she would love the new wardrobes, which allow her to organize things instead of leaving everything on the tables. And it would be a blessing to live in a house that is not infested with bugs and vermin, she said. The snakes ? She can’t even think about it.

“I believe that with the help she needs, she will be able to age with dignity in her place,” said Fagen.

Rosendary said she knows her wishlist doesn’t come cheap. She even finds it hard to imagine complete strangers stepping in to help her when no one has ever done so before.

“Some people are just lucky enough to have more income than others,” she said, adding that she refused to spend a minute feeling sorry for herself. “Money is one thing, and being comfortable, but happiness is everything. Money can’t buy this. “

Yet, she said, she hopes that God will lead someone to her who will want to help her, because eventually everyone will die and the money will mean nothing.

“You haven’t brought anything here and you’re not going to take anything,” she said. “You only go through this world once, and you go on and do your best.”


Rosendary wants to stay safe in the house where she has spent most of her life. To do this, she will need plumbing repairs amounting to approximately $ 5,000 and an additional $ 5,000 in repairs to her home’s electrical system. His home will need professional extermination services amounting to approximately $ 4,900. Appliances, including a refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, and microwave, that would allow her to store and prepare food safely, would cost $ 1,200, and the cabinets would cost around 11,000. $ to replace.

Nomination agency: Palm Beach County Legal Aid Society

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