A struggling family of eight siblings is at risk of losing their childhood home if they can’t stop foreclosure.
Raul Acosta, 26, the eldest of the bunch, has been working himself to the bone for eight years to provide for his seven younger siblings aged 3 to 16.
Perla, their mom, became ill when Raul was 18. She could no longer care for the family, so the teen was forced to grow up fast and look after his brothers and sisters.
Perla eventually passed away, and three years later, her boyfriend (and dad of the seven siblings) followed.
Unfortunately, no family members were willing to take in the seven kids, so Raul did what he had to do to keep his family together.
“I was hoping somebody in the family would take that over and handle the responsibilities,” Raul admitted. “I had other plans myself, but you gotta do what you gotta do, and I took on the responsibility.”
Children’s Legal Services sought the help of attorney Sandra Creta, who offered pro-bono services to the family, so the Acostas could stay together.
With her help, Raul became his siblings’ legal guardian and conservator.
“I wasn’t going to let them go into foster care, get separated. So I did what I needed to do to keep them together. They’re good kids,” he said.
Creta said she was “so impressed” with Raul’s maturity when she first met him. Initially, she was hesitant about granting guardianship of seven children to a 21-year-old, but all her worries disappeared when she got to know Raul.
“The fact that he had already been packing lunches, braiding hair, changing diapers, using his money from his job at Burger King to fix up the house for years,” she said. “He was already the dad to the little ones.”
Raul struggled but was able to raise his siblings and pay the bills by working as a tow truck driver. But when his work hours were reduced during the pandemic, he fell behind on mortgage payments.
In December, he also lost state benefits, such as food and cash assistance and Medicaid.
Now, Raul needs to pay the amount of $13,728.40 in full by May 6, or he and his siblings will end up homeless.
Luckily, attorney Creta and her colleagues, Andrea Gutierrez and Danielle Graham, stepped in to help the family.
Creta contacted the Association of Sole Practitioners and Small Firms of Arizona to ask for help in getting the mortgage loan, which is still under Perla’s name, transferred to Raul’s name.
“He didn’t ask for help, but there was no way I was letting this family lose their home,” the attorney said.
Raul said they’re also hoping to save up to have their house fixed, as there are plenty of areas in the home that need work.
“It’s not the prettiest, but it’s a roof over our head,” he said.
Andrea also created a GoFundMe for the siblings to raise the money needed to prevent the foreclosure. As of this writing, the fund has raised nearly $135K of its $40K goal.
This means that Raul and his siblings get to keep the home they all grew up in!
In a recent update on the GoFundMe page, Andrea shared how the funds will be used.
First, they will pay the arrearage to save the house from foreclosure. Raul will also use a portion of the money to buy food and necessities for his siblings.
They’re also checking which parts of the home need repairs and will focus on that. Any remaining funds will be used for the kids’ benefit.
Andrea said that many people wanted to reach out to Raul, so he opened up a P.O. Box with the following address:
Raul Acosta, PO Box 5723, Glendale, AZ 85301
Some have also asked if the children need clothing, but Raul is grateful and says they currently have the clothing they need.
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