Neighbor starts fundraiser to help family keep house

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The land value of an East Austin home facing foreclosure has more than tripled over the last five years. Rising taxes, a higher cost of living and some bad breaks have put Ramiro Montoya and his family in a tough spot.

“My wife got sick, I got sick, I had a stroke not too long ago, and just couldn’t make payments on the house,” says Montoya. After 44 years, this could be their last Thanksgiving in their home. The bank is scheduled to foreclose on the house in less than two weeks. It’s a place where they care for their two great-grandchildren and their son who has cancer.

Neighbors are trying to help. Staryn Wagner has lived next door to Montoya for 13 years. He set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the family to keep their house. So far they’ve raised more than $15,000 in 10 days, but it’s just a fraction of the hefty goal of $180,000.

“I saw instances [on GoFundMe] of raising $155,000 in one day, and I thought, well obviously this can work,” explains Wagner. “Whether it will or not, I don’t know, but I know If I don’t try it, it’s certainly not going to work.”

It could be a Thanksgiving miracle, one that keeps on giving. “Thank you and hopefully you all not only help me, but other people too, and hopefully I’ll try to help somebody out,” says Montoya.

He is still trying to figure out where he and his family will live if they don’t get to keep the house.

Compared to the overall U.S. and Texas, the foreclosure rate is lower in Austin. It’s about a quarter of the national rate. Compare that to the state of Delaware. RealtyTrac lists that state with the highest foreclosure percentage in the nations, at more than three times the national rate. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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