Karen Lagana, a widow and vulnerable senior living in Sarasota, first came to Gulfcoast Legal Services in 2020. She was facing foreclosure of the home she shared with her late husband, Frank, who died in 2018.
Karen was faced with a situation that many of our seniors face when they lose a spouse – loss of half or more of the family income. Only having her social security income to meet all her financial obligations, including the property taxes and homeowners’ insurance that she was required to pay per the terms of her reverse mortgage agreement, she fell behind on her financial commitments.
To make a terrible situation worse, while facing foreclosure Karen suffered another tragic loss in 2020, her only son died unexpectedly. While this was devastating for Karen, it was during this time that COVID-19 shut down the country. Fortunately, a moratorium on foreclosures was issued due to COVID-19, which temporarily stopped Karen’s foreclosure case from moving forward and provided her with some much-needed time to grieve the loss of her husband and son.
After the moratorium was lifted, the foreclosure case progressed with the judicial home sale date set for September 23, 2022. In the interim, with assistance from GLS, Karen was able to apply for financial assistance through the Florida Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF). Shortly before the judicial sale was to take place, Karen learned that HAF approved her application and payment was made to the reverse mortgage company on her behalf such that the reverse mortgage could be reinstated. The judicial sale was cancelled and rescheduled for December 22, 2022. The case remained open as the reverse mortgage company still had to reinstate the mortgage.
Finally, on December 5, 2022, GLS attorneys filed a motion requesting the court dismiss her case. The motion was approved December 7, 2022, and Karen was no longer at risk for losing her home.
This fantastic result for our client could not have happened without the steadfast dedication of the Financial Stability Unit’s Supervising Attorney Sara Jones. Sara managed every facet of the legal and procedural aspects of the case for over two years. Due to her unwavering and compassionate handling of this matter, Sara left no stone unturned in her efforts to deliver this successful result to one of our more vulnerable clients. Congratulations to Karen, Sara, and the entire Financial Stability Team!