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12 News Defenders: Hayneville woman struggling with disease, poverty

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HAYNEVILLE, AL (WSFA) -

Betty Jean Brown, 53, has sores all over her body and weighs just 80 pounds due to diabetes, lupus and more.

"I don't have no kidneys. I've been sick for a long time," Brown said.

She says dialysis is the only thing that's keeping her alive. But she can't get to many of her treatments because she's not able to drive and her family members don't have dependable transportation to take her from Hayneville to Prattville. She's been hospitalized 15 times already this year.

"I have a lot of pain. Oh, how I pray. I wish I could have a better home," Brown said.

She's been in this rundown trailer for 15 years. She has running water but can't use the bathrooms. There's mildew and the flooring has come up in some areas and wood planks are covering holes in the floor. Because of electrical issues she can't use her stove to cook food.

"I only got one light and one in the bathroom and in the kitchen. That's the only electricity I have got in the trailer," Brown said.

Brown says she barely made it through this winter with no heat. She's been trying for years to get help with home repairs or new housing. She says her fixed income is not enough to cover the costs.

Catherine Flowers with the Alabama Center for Rural Enterprise says Brown is one of eight women who have contacted her organization for help in the last three months.

"There needs to be a focus of missionary work in the black belt so that we can rebuild some of these homes or come and repair. I mean all it will take it is a church group, a civic group, a sorority, a fraternity, a few Saturdays out of the month and come to some of these homes," Flowers said.

Flowers says she's been trying for years now to partner with Habitat for Humanity and has been unsuccessful.

She's now hoping to find other non-profit or religious organizations or individuals who can help with rebuilding homes and lives.

If you would like to help, please call the Equal Justice Initiative at 334-269-1803.

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