Imminently homeless

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by katya02, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    difficult child is looking at being on the street and I have to be strong. I hope I can be strong.

    He's lived with his girlfriend and her mother for six months. The mother didn't want him there but didn't want her daughter to move out, as she drains her daughter's bank account every month to supplement her SSI, SSDI, food stamps, and other benefits. She has some expensive habits and didn't want to lose the extra income. So she allowed difficult child to move in.

    All went reasonably well until difficult child applied for SSI. Now girlfriend's mother has declared that difficult child's application means she'll be investigated, prosecuted, jailed, and made to repay many thousands of $$$. She's furious and she wants difficult child out. difficult child's girlfriend says she wants to leave with him, as she fears that staying will mean she'll never get away from her mother (there are major issues here, to say the least - verbal, emotional, financial abuse). girlfriend definitely needs counseling but has no insurance. She works at a low-paying job that she's supported herself on before, but since her mother arrived in town she's been broke and unable to pay the bills constantly. She hasn't developed the boundaries to say 'no' to her mother.

    difficult child and girlfriend want to leave her mother's place together ... and guess where they want to go? Yep, to us. And husband says NO, nada, nothing doing, not happening. For which I am grateful. I feel that tug, that desire to be the haven in the storm, but at the same time I cringe at the thought of difficult child home again.

    Today he spent the afternoon. I asked him to bring the garbage bins up from the road and put up the driveway markers for the winter. He did one but not the other, and only with complaints about how he's had no sleep and feels awful. He watched TV the rest of the time. I know he'd be back to old behavior patterns right away, sleeping all day, up all night, having aches and pains that prevent him from doing anything around the house; reluctantly doing the minimum and getting offended at every request; feeling entitled to comment and complain about other family members; getting angry; and Public Displays of Affection with girlfriend, oh my! I don't think I can deal. I know it would be almost impossible to get them to move on. girlfriend is nice but so disorganized and ineffectual that she would be no help whatsoever in finding a place and moving out.

    Still, my gut is churning and I have a bad feeling the timing will be such that I have to tell difficult child that he and girlfriend can't move here. That, once they've had the showdown with her mother and walked out the door, they'll be heading to the homeless shelter that requires a referral and police check before permitting people to come. That's the men's shelter - I don't even know if there IS a women's shelter in town. We're a pretty small place.

    We have lots of room, although my cat breeding business now takes up a good deal of it, including difficult child's old bedroom. Still ... I can't honestly say we don't have room. So I feel like a schmuck, in spite of knowing that it wouldn't be a good idea for difficult child and girlfriend to come here. husband and I are willing to help with first and security deposit on an apartment, but difficult child nixed that today. Feels like being between a rock and a hard place.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  2. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Stay strong Katya.
    Whether you have the room or not isn't the point. You've walked a long hard road with your difficult child and you've earned the peace and stability of having him out of the house. No need to give that up.

    Sending strength your way.

  3. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I'm home after a glass of wine with a friend in need and totally relating to what you have said after having "facebooked" with M last night. It's inconceivable to me how out of touch with reality he is. He seems normal. He's not normal. At least I hope that this is not what we think is normal.

    I'll write more later, because honestly - I don't even know if I can make sense about this. I tried to tell my friend. I don't think it was totally understood...
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Katya, please resist the pull to "help". I KNOW you want to make sure your child is not homeless, hungry and cold. It must be so strong, esp at this time of year. I honestly do not know what we would do if Wiz was forced out of my parents' home for some reason.

    Having the room does NOT mean that difficult child should move back. You and husband worked long and hard for many years, and are still working hard, to be able to afford that lifestyle. difficult child has not worked long and hard, and he has not EARNED that lifestyle.

    It is one thing to see a child with mental illness who works hard to do what the docs say, to be medication and therapy compliant. In that case, if the child cannot support himself, and is not a danger to others, it would be one thing to think about bringing the child home.

    It is my recall of your situation that your difficult child is not treatment compliant, has been scary, and is not appropriate in regards to being a good roommate. He also seems to not work at home, if the up all night, sleep all day, hurts too much, etc... routine is as I remember.

    Bringing him home will be just one more nail in the "I cannot do anything" coffin he wants to jump into. If he has to find a solution other than living in your home or his girlfriend's home, he just might rise to the occasion and figure out a solution that works for them. He, and you, won't know until he tries and fails a few times.

    Janet's Cory is a good example. Living at home he just was not as functional and independent as he could be. Living alone, with the problems and hardships, he has grown and made a life for himself. One he feels good about.

    Offering help with first and last months rent is one thing. Having him move in is another. If he will only consider moving in with you, well, you will have to make sure he doesn't have a key and tell him no. It may even come to having him removed from your property by the police. It does NOT mean you don't love him. It means that you love him enough to push him out of the nest.

    IF he truly cannot function, then he should qualify for some type of assisted living or group home.

    I realize he is mentally ill. That is not a blanket voucher that can be cashed in for living with mom and dad as a helpless and dependent child who cannot do even basic chores. It just isn't.

    I know it is hard. Rips your guts out hard. But this is what needs to happen to help him figure out his wings, if they work, how they work, and what they can accomplish - how high they can lift him.

    Part of being a responsible parent is watching them try to fly and letting them fall so they can try again.

    Sending lots and lots of hugs, my extra rhino skin armor, and a shoulder to cry on.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    The girlfriend would be a dealbreaker for me, if nothing else is. One would be hard enough, but two?

    I would think really hard about this. Your son can get SSI and find low income housing and get food stamps. He doesn't need to be out in the streets. Send him to social services. He may not have a mansion to watch TV in all day, but if he has no income, there is something for him.
  6. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thanks everyone .... putting on that rhino skin armor now ..... seriously, thank you. I know everything you've said is true. Susie, you remember his behaviors perfectly, from up all night/sleep all day/hurt too much to do anything around the house to being angry and scary when he's thwarted or challenged. Just yesterday I talked about him working eight hours/day and he looked incredulous, and when I asked him to bring the trash bins up he only did it with many comments on having had no sleep, hurting a lot, having 'nothing' in terms of energy, etc. And the girlfriend really is a dealbreaker - she's not a difficult child but is so dependent and amotivated that I'd be tearing my hair out around her for different reasons, and I have little enough hair left, Know what I mean??

    difficult child does have the option of emergency housing through our local mental health service organization, although he would probably have to spend some time in the men's shelter initially. But he can get shared supervised housing pretty quickly. The 'catch' is that he can't take the girlfriend and he'd have to do volunteer work around the property. I think it sounds great. He doesn't want to leave girlfriend; he's convinced that she'll never get away from her mother if she doesn't leave with him. His focus on 'saving' girlfriend is giving him tunnel vision about his options. From where I sit, girlfriend has a lot of therapy work to do to get her boundaries established and some decisions made. Simply moving from her mother's place to ours wouldn't solve a number of major issues that aren't relevant here, but would prevent her from successfully moving anywhere.

    husband is still adamant this morning, and daughter is too - no moving home. I would like husband to be the one to deal with the anger and tears and fallout from difficult child - husband will tell difficult child he can't move home, I have no doubt, but then husband will be off to work and difficult child will focus on me to vent his disappointment. Besides the anger/tears and accusations of us not loving him, treating him worse than his sibs, not caring if he lives or dies etc., I can also see difficult child acting out to show us how horrible we are - either drinking again, or lying outside in the cold and getting frostbite, or cutting, etc. It sounds cowardly to be so anxious about coping with difficult child's reaction but I feel unable to deal with much stress anymore - sort of like my adrenal glands are all used up and I just can't cope with one more crisis.
  7. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    One other thing ... thanks for reminding me that I don't owe it to difficult child to let him come home. It is true that husband and I have worked hard for many years, and also true that it's been a long, hard road with difficult child. husband had a heart attack last December and still isn't in great health. He could have another any time. We've always worked hard and taken care of our family and our things and it's so hard for us to comprehend why any of our kids wouldn't internalize that example. It also makes us gullible because our basic assumption is that people will work hard, given the chance, so giving them a chance is a good thing. Our experience with difficult child has shown us that giving a chance can backfire; we've given him so many, even if he doesn't see it that way.

    I have to remember to take care of husband and the other kids. I advise other people on the board to do that; better take my own advice, lol! I already regret what I put my other kids through in terms of asking too much of them while difficult child was growing up, and not paying enough attention to them. Better not add to that.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think you are doing the right thing in telling him he cant come home. It hurts me to say it too because I really want to be able to can come home if you need to. I want to be able to stand in my doorway with open in arms for my kids. Sometimes you just cant.

    I think if he is able to get SSI then he could get a small place to stay. Maybe at first girlfriend cant come with him. He should be his first priority. Maybe it doesnt have to be this mental health shelter. It could be a run down trailer or a dumpy apartment that the two of them could afford together. Thats what Cory moved into first. He had an awful little trailer at first. But it was all his. Im sure he is going to move a hundred times over the years.

    If you guys can get them But first he has to have that SSI.
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Oh, I am so sorry. I have been in a very similar situation and very recently.
    difficult child was super duper duper near homeless very recently.
    However, she pulled something together very very last minute...something really yuck...but, of course, better than homeless.
    And...I NEVER ever considered having her move back in with me.
    I did offer to make a deal with- her. If she agreed to allow a caseworker to help her out every week, I would help her out for the time being to make sure she had a decent roof over her head...but she would NOT go for it.
    So be it.
    It is a horrible feeling.
    But like you said, there is no guilt. We have tried, tried again, tried some more....we can not over parent, over protect, helicopter over these kids. Sure, if they have special needs, we can do a little extra...with- the hope that they will take the ball and run with- it.
    But, even special needs children need to try their best.
    If your adult child wants a roof over his head, he will search around/ask around and find someone to help him out and do what he needs to do (offer to work for someone, clean their house, etc) to get that roof over his head.
    Other people have learned to get by in a decent, respectable way, and there is no reason why our children can not figure this out.
    We all need to try our best. We all need to be appreciative of what is given to us.
    I am so sorry that this has got to hurt your mommy heart.
    Perhaps you can give him a list of social services, give him a few ideas....but as best as you can...detach 'cause it really is up to him.
    Sure, he might have to move into a dump (very likely) but so be it!
    The SSI will be a blessing down the road.
    Please take extra good care of yourself.
    Lasted edited by : Dec 8, 2009
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    First of all........HUGE HUGE BIG TIME GIRLFRIEND COME HERE AND I'll make you a lovely cup of super duper cocoa with whipped cream and sprinkles and we'll sit, chat and talk of the cats first. What kind do you breed? I would like to know about the Kitteh's. lol. I'm literally done talking about the kiddehs.

    But you just can't stop like that can ya? (Sigh and great big exhale) Who am I to say anything lol? I lost my mudslide this morning so bad MYconversation to my son started off with Frogs Uncle....and went blasting from there. lol. Sometimes I'm able to hold it together for a lot longer, but this child pushes all the buttons on the elevator at once and I need to get to the penthouse in a hurry. Know what I mean??

    I think it used to be easy for me to sit here and say -"DO NOT LET HIM COME HOME." All our shelters have closed here. Our Salvation Army is on the verge of closing too. The homeless rate has tripled and the soup kitchens have lines so long that on Thanksgiving it took three hours in line to get a free meal. It's never been this bad. Then you have to consider, if I take him in my home again; how bad will it be for us?

    The reality of that you already know. The problem is what are you able to handle and what won't you handle? For us? I had a list of homeless shelters for Dude and when I found that they'd been closed? I started crossing the places off and when there were none? It was going to be the park. Okay well, whose fault was that? Not mine. Dudes. Should he go there? I guess he could. Had he even tried to help himself? Yes. Was he getting the support he needed to do better at the foster home? No. If we bring him back into our home could he succeed? Maybe. Would it be difficult? Absolutely. Would he help us? Probably not. Can we deal with that? We've been dealing with it, what is the difference? And on and on went our list of could we do this?????

    When it got down to it? I said - Park, DF said - One more try. (amazing huh?) Dude actually said "Send me to my biodads." Not an option as far as I'm concerned. He went anyway. Life's not so great there. So now what? Back home huh? Great.

    My life has changed with Dude there. It's gone from a series of peaceful do what I wants - to Locked doors, redirects (repeat that 1000 times a day), staying on top of him when he's there and watching him all the time. And ulcer medication. Our goal was to help him obtain a job by the end of the year, save his money, get a car, pay his fines, and get out on his own hopefully by Spring. The way the economy is? It's hard to tell what will be for any of us. Living here? The park was the only option for Dude. SSI turned him down twice.

    If you can get SSI for your son? Go for it. Let him be independent. If Dude had gotten SSI? He wouldn't be living here.

    I'm sorry you have to face this....but just know you aren't alone. Sending you tons of strength....I know that you have done all that you could and then some.....and then some more......and then some after that. You're a great Mom. Just because your kid can't get HIS act together doesn't mean you aren't a good Mom. That's hard to learn but true.

    Hugs & cocoa
  11. jbrain

    jbrain Member

    With some difficult children you just can't let them come home. We let my easy child son live with us but he was starting his own business and working 12-14 hrs a day. It didn't succeed and then he decided on his own he needed a change of scenery and moved to the west coast. He stayed with his difficult child sister and boyfriend who stole his money and took every advantage of him. But, he said, "no more" and got his life together and now has a good job, a nice place to live, and a life he enjoys.

    My youngest dtr is 18 and I can't imagine ever telling her she couldn't come home. She is grateful for us and our home, no sense of entitlement there.

    But, difficult child 1, the middle child--I would not allow her to live with us again. She's great at a distance--very respectful, thankful for anything we do for her. I don't think she would even dare ask to come home to live, she knows that is not a possibility. I was very clear when I kicked her out--you will never live here again.

    Stick to your guns, be tough and you don't have to listen to him after husband tells him he can't live there. Refuse to listen to his complaints, etc.

  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Katya forgive me but it's late and I didn't read the replies.

    If you're really feeling bad over difficult child and girlfriend being homeless there is one thing you could do for them. Hunt down some HUD apartments. And if they don't have transport you could drive them around to fill out the applications. Many of these apartments also have the utilities included. Even if the places have waiting lists...if they keep checking regularly, they will eventually get bumped up to the top of the list. Actually, living in a homeless shelter would automatically bump them to the top of the list.

    Not much......but if they could get into one it would not just help them now, but would help them further along as well. Which I keep trying to tell K but she has a million excuses and no motivation to actually go apply to them. ugh

  13. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thank you all so much - I can't say it enough - for your encouragement and advice in this. difficult child seems to be starting to internalize that he isn't coming home, but he's still fixed on the idea that girlfriend must leave her mother's place with him. They're coming over this afternoon to talk to husband and me about possibilities and issues. I've warned him that, before girlfriend can successfully go anywhere, she has to deal with at least three issues: a) she allows her mother to drain her bank account every month (her mother is a compulsive shopper and hoarder). Even if husband and I ante up the first and security, she won't be able to pay bills in an apartment if she allows that to continue. b) she owns a car that her mother paid money into, although only her name is on it. Her mother drives it daily without a license. While her mother has free transportation through her benefits (door to door for medical things), she needs it for work. She is convinced that she has to leave the car for her mother because her mother says so. c) she has two very destructive unneutered male cats that so far she hasn't given up, but which can't come with her to a new place. She also supports her mother's nine cats and two dogs and has to let her mother know that she won't be supporting them in future.

    I'm going to check with all of the local shelters and programs to ascertain availability. I'll also scour the newspaper with them to work on finding an apartment, although the issues I mentioned above have to be dealt with by girlfriend. But girlfriend's mother is threatening to call police to have difficult child bodily removed and he has to go asap. I think the only reason the mother hasn't done it so far is that it would officially put on record that he and girlfriend are living there.

    If the snowbank is the only alternative I might consider difficult child coming home - temporarily - to the couch, lol! - alone. Having no girlfriend with him would be the biggest incentive to him to find other lodgings! If there's room in the men's shelter that's where he'll go. He has applied for SSI but now there's the three to six-month wait to find out if he gets it, the probable rejection and reapplication, etc. So for the foreseeable future he's on $200 per month and food stamps. I'll also urge him to put in the HUD applications today. The upside is, he could get an apartment for $60/month if on his own; the downside is there's a one-year wait for 1 BR apartments with HUD here. Always something! :rolleyes: