Housing insecurity is one of the biggest issues facing Americans today. Not only is the cost of living going up, wages are stagnant, and it’s hard to keep up with rising bills.
When one young man suddenly found himself orphaned and responsible for his seven younger siblings, it became more important than ever to keep a roof over their heads.
Without money to make ends meet and without a way to pay his mortgage, the man had to turn to his community for help. And help, they did!
Raul Acosta is the 26-year-old eldest sibling of a huge family of eight boys and girls, ranging from ages three to 16. Being the oldest was already a major responsibility for Raul, who took on the role of father early in life for the rest of his family. Since his mother Perla fell ill when Raul was 18, he worked hard to be able to provide for the family and contribute to their well-being, in addition to carrying out tasks like making school lunches and doing hair.
However, when his mother passed away, followed soon after by her boyfriend and the father of her children, Raul found himself solely responsible for the family.
Why a 26-Year-Old Man Became a “Father” to His Seven Siblings
Being a young man, Raul hoped that a member of his extended family would offer to take the seven minor children in, but to no avail.
When nobody came forward to help, Raul realized everything would now be on his shoulders. If he decided not to take care of the children, they would have entered the foster care system and been separated. He refused to let that happen.
I was hoping somebody in the family would take that over and handle the responsibilities. I had other plans myself, but you gotta do what you gotta do, and I took on the responsibility.
Raul sought help from Children’s Legal Services, who in turn reached out to attorney Sandra Creta. Sandra offered her services to Raul free of charge, and worked to establish the oldest brother as the children’s legal guardian and conservator.
How Strangers Selflessly Helped a Family Get Back on Its Feet
While at first she wasn’t sold on granting guardianship of so many children to such a young man, she was quickly convinced when she realized how mature Raul was, and how long he had already been performing fatherly duties for the children.
“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… he was already the dad to the little ones,” said Sandra Creta.
At first, Raul was able to make ends meet, working as a tow truck driver. However, when the pandemic hit, he lost many of his hours, as well as his Medicaid and state benefits, which included food and cash assistance.
He was reliant on those things, and the loss was a huge blow to the family. Because of all of this, Raul fell behind on his mortgage payments and was ordered to pay the sum of $13,728.40 within weeks or risk losing his house.
Unsure how to move forward, Raul reached out to his old friend Sandra Creta, who sprung into action. Sandra and her colleagues Andrea Gutierrez and Danielle Graham contacted the Association of Sole Practitioners and Small Firms of Arizona to get an existing mortgage loan, which had previously been in Raul’s mother’s name, transferred to Raul’s name. Luckily, they were successful. But they didn’t stop there.
Sandra, Andrea and Danielle set up a GoFundMe for the family to raise the money needed to prevent the foreclosure. Within a matter of days, the fund raised $135K of its $140K goal. This means the whole family will not only be able to stay together, they will be able to stay in their home!
He didn’t ask for help, but there was no way I was letting this family lose their home.
Raul Acosta is an example of someone who makes important and difficult sacrifices for his family. He was very lucky to get the help and support needed when he found himself at rock bottom, but his good heart and hard work are really what have helped him succeed so far, and we hope he keeps it up!
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“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.” – Coretta Scott King
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