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Generous WPTV viewers help save blind, disabled Stuart woman from eviction

Cynthia Harte, 62, receives more than $7,000 in donations on GoFundMe page
Posted at 11:26 AM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-07 11:27:15-05

STUART, Fla. — A Stuart woman who was facing eviction because of a rent increase and a death in the family can stay in her home for a few more weeks thanks to generous WPTV viewers who saw her story.

One week after WPTV first met Cynthia Harte, who is blind and bound to a wheelchair, she's still living in her Stuart apartment.

"Unbelievable, and it happened so quickly," Harte said.

Harte, 62, was facing eviction after a rent increase and a death in the family that cut her income in half.

After her original story aired on WPTV last week, some generous viewers stepped in to help.

She got 44 donations on her GoFundMe page, totaling $7,296. The donations are enough to pay the two months of rent that she owes her apartment complex.

Cynthia Harte looks at $7,296 donations raised on GoFundMe page
Cynthia Harte looks at her GoFundMe page, which has raised $7,296 after her story aired on WPTV.

"I'm shocked at the amount," she said.

Harte also owed the complex $500 in attorney fees because of a pending lawsuit related to the unpaid rent.

She now has the money for that as well and told WPTV the complex plans to drop the lawsuit and pending eviction.

"It's very hard nowadays, as I'm sure you're aware, to find someplace cheaper (because) all the rents and everything have gone up," Harte said.

Harte first called WPTV in January after seeing stories about the ongoing rental crisis in South Florida and new findings from a study by Florida Atlantic University.

"When you start digging into the number of Airbnbs, the number of condo and homeowners associations that severely restricts the renting of units within that association ... both of those are just driving up rent," Ken Johnson, a housing and real estate economist at Florida Atlantic University, said.

It's too expensive for many residents, like Harte, who will soon start her search for a more affordable place with the help of someone else who saw her story.

Jessica Bruno speaks to Cynthia Harte after she receives help from WPTV viewers
Cynthia Harte tells WPTV's Jessica Bruno that she feels a sense of relief knowing all the people who have donated to help her stay in her home longer.

"The Division of Blind Services says that they're going to help me," Harte said. "They're also going to set me up with an eye doctor so I can get a vision check and some new glasses, because there was a lot of people that noticed it."

Harte called it "a relief."

Contact 5 sent a message to the attorney for Harte's apartment complex to learn more information about the lawsuit and pending eviction. Contact 5 has not received a response.