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South Bay woman turns to WPTV for help, receives remaining $2,000 balance from grant program

'After contacting you all, I got it right away,' Carrie Jernigan says
Posted at 6:50 PM, Jun 06, 2024

SOUTH BAY, Fla. — Carrie Jernigan, 81, of South Bay finally got the money she needed to secure her house against hurricanes.

"After contacting you all, I got it right away," she said while sitting on her front porch. "I wasn't getting the results I should have been getting."

Jernigan turned to NewsChannel 5 by writing a letter about her experience with a grant program in the city that had suddenly left her without the full $5,000 promised.

She said the money was going toward a $6,000 bill to install new hurricane shutters.

The grant program paid for a $3,000 down payment, but then never followed up with the $2,000 balance, forcing her to turn to a high-interest credit card to pay the contractor.

When she told us about it, NewsChannel 5 contacted city hall.

"I mean, the very next week and before the end of the week I had the check," Jernigan said.

South Bay city officials said the grant program is no longer active.

The program was originally created with federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act during the pandemic, and over the last couple of years has helped about 200 homeowners fix up their homes.

Jernigan is likely among the last to benefit from the program and glad she contacted NewsChannel 5 and now maybe will save on homeowners insurance.

"I'm very glad I went ahead and decided to do that," she said.