Disabled woman receives CARES Act relief after former caregiver steals rent money

Investigations

HARRIMAN, Tenn. (WATE) — An emergency grant received through the federal CARES Act has become a lifeline for a disabled woman whose former caregiver stole from her.

Two weeks ago, Carol Gatewood’s September rent was due along with part of April’s rent, and unfortunately, she didn’t have enough in her account to cover the payments.

Living alone and with no family to support her, the situation was serious.

In late March, Gatewood, a widow and former nurse, had a stroke. Her health has not been good for years.

Three months later, at her request, Gatwood started receiving home-bound daily nursing services through TennCare’s CHOICES program.

“This one girl, she’s not with the company anymore, but I gave her my bank card. They’ve tracked her to four different places she went using my bank card getting money off of it.”

Carol Gatewood

Gatewood was worried when she called WATE. Her bank account was nearly drained after money was stolen.

To make matters worse, Gatewood was having to buy personal care items out of her own pocket. There had been a mix-up with her insurance company.

WATE contacted the Community Action Agency in Roane County and told them about her situation.

“We will assist Carol with the payment of her September rent. That is through the CARES Act and a Community Service block grant. That will be in the form of a voucher that will be paid to her housing authority.”

Amber Jacks, Office on Aging Director

The emergency assistance voucher to pay Gatewood’s rent became available for people in her situation, and she makes $803 a month in Social Security disability.

The rental assistance is a direct service that is identified as high need due to COVID-19, and Gatewood was grateful to hear that her September and back-rent has been paid due to the service.

Gatewood says the emergency rental assistance from the CARES Act will help get her bank account back in line and believes she’ll be able to make future payments with no problem.

She’s also grateful to leaders at the Mid-East CAA for their assistance.

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