Three siblings with special needs face $165K reverse mortgage bill

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:

Pay up or move out. It is a harsh reality for three special needs adults as they still come to grips with the death of their mother. The amount that is owed is $165,000. While they struggle with what is next, the siblings know they have each other.

Karryn Dixon’s Port Charlotte home holds a special place in her heart. Karryn and two of her siblings, also with special needs, lived with their Mom, Gertrude Cifaldi, until her passing on April 13.

“She is very generous,” Karryn said. “I hope she is up in heaven.”

Mom, Gertrude Cifaldi, who died on April 13. (Credit: WINK News)
Mom, Gertrude Cifaldi, who died on April 13. (Credit: WINK News)

Gertrude adopted and fostered Karryn, Chuck and Lisa while fostering more than 100 newborns.

Now, the family that gave so much is in need as it is at risk of losing their home after learning Gertrude took out a reverse mortgage and will need to pay back $165,000 in the next six months.

“Do you know what a reverse mortgage means?” said WINK News reporter Erika Jackson.

“No,” Karryn said.

A reverse mortgage is a loan secured over a residential property for seniors aged 62 and older. The financial instrument allows homeowners to convert the equity in their house into cash with no monthly mortgage payments.

The siblings will attend the Quality Independence adult day training program in Punta Gorda. The service focuses on community inclusion and integration, as well as life skill development and job skills. Teachers plan to host a fundraising event there next month.

In the meantime, the three siblings are fighting to stay together. Their sister and guardian, Wanda Pacyna, said she would prefer not to place the adults in an independent living home. She is searching for creative ways to come up with the funds.

“They don’t need to go there,” Pacyna said. “We have enough family that can help take care of them.”

The best case scenario is that they could stay in their home. But, they agree a home is wherever they are together.

“I want to stay together with my family,” Karryn said.

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