Charlotte County family finds home after inspection forces eviction

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Jennifer Cooks and two of her children hug her new friend and landlord Becky-Sue Mercer. (CREDIT: WINK News)

A mother and her three children now have a safe place to call home after a failing inspection forced them out of their rental in Port Charlotte.

Jennifer Cooks and her kids had nowhere to go and an even harder time finding a place to live that would accommodate her daughter Alexandra’s medical equipment. Alexandra is special needs and is bed-bound.

Cooks’ old home failed inspection because of sewage backup, and the Punta Gorda Housing Authority stepped in. They worked day and night to find Cooks and her family a home large enough to house Alexandria’s medical supplies.

“We expedited the entire process. As we knew the situation that she was in,” said Kurt Pentelecuc, executive director of the Punta Gorda Housing Authority. “She needed to move quickly, to move her family.”

Becky-Sue Mercer with the Arcadia Housing Authority saw Cooks’ story on WINK News.

“I rushed to the remote and replayed the news article of Jennifer and Kurt and the stress that she was going through with a house,” Mercer said.

Mercer decided to help and register her home in North Port as a Section 8 Housing home that could accommodate Cooks.

She is now Cooks’ friend and her landlord.

“My house was vacant and I was unsure what to do with it,” Mercer said.

When Cooks found out about the opportunity, she said she almost fainted.

“I got weak in the knees because it was so, it was so beautiful,” Cooks said. “I thank God for all of my blessings because it has definitely been a blessing.”


The Punta Gorda Housing Authority is looking to register more homes with the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

If someone wants to sign up to be a landlord for Section 8 Housing, email

For more information for prospective tenants and landlords, visit the Punta Gorda Housing Authority here.

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