I need help paying an old debt that must be paid

WHAT'S HAPPENING: I have spent almost every day for the last three weeks working with my credit union to obtain a lien release on a second mortgage taken out in 2005, something I need to complete the process of securing a home equity loan.

MONEY IS TIGHT: My credit is great, my bills are paid (well, mostly); I'm waiting on two overdue paychecks! and I work six part-time jobs to keep us that way! But on the horizon, two of my three children have enormous college bills to pay, plus I will owe the federal government a bundle of money next month on tax day, and I have one $5K medical bill due that I am unable to afford without help. So, that's why I've applied for a home equity loan.

SO WHAT'S THE PROBLEM? All this time, I thought that the reason I haven't been able to obtain a lien release for that old loan, taken over by my late wife when we separated in 2013, is that the loan was transferred ten times, each time to a mortgage servicing company that was ripping off customers and going into bankruptcy! No, it turns out, the company that has that loan now cannot give me a lien release, because my wife never paid it off. And that's why I am raising money, to pay off this unexpected old debt, get a lien release and obtain the home equity loan my family needs.

WHY DO I HAVE TO PAY IT OFF? When we took out the second mortgage, we took it out jointly, using what is called my "deadname" — the name I was given at birth. When I came out as transgender in 2013, we separated and I was asked to move out. When I lost my job a year later, my wife assumed responsibility for the mortgage and other household bills. But seven years and two months ago, she passed away after a battle with cancer, and I moved back home. I had no idea the loan was never paid-off and it has never appeared on my credit reports, perhaps due to the fact that I legally changed my name almost a decade ago. Even though it's no longer in my name, the only way for me to get a lien release is to pay off this old debt. ADDENDUM: I am not blaming my late wife for this trouble we're in. I would have paid this off years ago had I only known. I simply didn't know it was outstanding. And now that I know, I'm asking for help. That's all.

ABOUT US: My name is Dawn Ennis. I'm a single mom and widow raising three incredible kids, two of whom are in college. We survived the most difficult challenge of our lives when we lost their mom, my beloved. Our oldest is in grad school, his sister a junior, both of them attending the University of Chicago on scholarships. Problem is, the scholarships have run out for my son, and he's looking at a $6K bill this month in order to graduate in June. We just learned my middle child will need a "family contribution" of $14K to attend her senior year, according to FAFSA. My youngest is in high school, with plans to go to college in 2024.

WHAT ABOUT OTHER FUNDRAISERS I'VE HELD? Their uncle started an Education Fund in 2016, which so far has netted only about $800, and we have not yet touched it, as the older kids are leaving it intact for our youngest. The GoFundMe I started for the kids' education when my wife was diagnosed in 2015 raised $5,668 of its $12K goal and has since been shuttered. We used all those generous funds to get this far: moving the kids to and from Chicago, paying for their room, board, books and other school-related expenses, as well as meals there and here at home. You can still look at it here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/zc4q96x4

WHY DON'T MY KIDS JUST TAKE OUT COLLEGE LOANS LIKE EVERYONE ELSE? While my oldest child already has taken out a college loan, I trying to avoid adding further to his burden and to my oldest daughter's, given the tremendous burdens already placed upon my kiddos: My gender transition, the trauma from all the publicity that caused a decade ago, their mom's health battle and death from cancer and the resulting family struggles, including learning to live with a hole in our hearts. While the backup plan is for them to take out additional loans if I cannot raise the money we need in time, I am trying to spare them one more burden using our home's equity. Plus, my IRS and medical bills will still need to be paid, so there's that, and, almost forgot, the car I bought my youngest recently died and I'm told a junkyard will only give us $500 for it. Oy.

AM I RAISING MONEY TO PAY FOR MY GENDER TRANSITION OR RELATED PURCHASES? NO. I'm no longer "transitioning," I am living my authentic life. And this isn't about me being trans, except for the fact that the reason I work six part-time jobs is because most employers still aren't hiring people like me for full-time positions. And that's why I'm reaching out to all y'all. If you have the means, I ask that you offer me whatever assistance you can afford. I'm thinking if I even make a dent in this $14K debt, I might be able to negotiate a settlement, get my lien release document and finally complete the home equity loan process! Then, I hope, all will be well.

Thank you for considering our plight, and if you've already been generous in the past, I cannot in good faith ask you to give again. I'm so grateful for your assistance in getting us this far!
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Dawn Ennis
West Hartford, CT

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