I just learned today that a friend of my nephew (who is staying with
me) is homeless. The friend stayed here for 3 weeks before I blew a
fuse and insisted that my nephew took him home. It was only after the
boy left did I discover he was homeless.
He was getting a check from the government until he turned 18 and the
people he was staying with made him leave. I understand that the kid
was working at a fast food place, but his car blew the engine.
He did just graduate from school. I understand that the people he was
staying with also let him finish school before they asked him to
I have suggested he contact some churches. I also suggested that he
try to get a job and pay coworkers to take him to and from "home". He
does have quite a few kids from school that he can rely on for a short
I googled "help for the homeless" and got......
Since I do not have any personal information about the boy, I could
not apply for anything listed. I suggested my nephew suggest the site
to the friend and let him do the applying.
Just from going to the site, it becomes pretty clear there is some
huge red tape and frustration on finding out what the kid would
qualify for. I think he is willing to work and I do not suspect the
kid is on drugs, but I really don't know. It does seem like a pretty
bad situation when you have no way to get to work and no place to
stay. BTW his home city and friends are around 45 miles from here and
it is a really small town.
Any other suggestions on how the kid could get help?
I asked which state he is in because each state has its own system regarding
children and youth services. That includes who is eligible for services,
what ages they serve, how they fund those services, etc.
I went to the Alabama Department of Human Resources website and, to be
honest, it is pretty lame. It is not easy to find any meaningful
information on that website, including even what ages of "children and
youth" they actually serve. It looks like the hub or contact point for
services is at the County level, but of course, when I click on any
individual County on their website all that comes up is an error message.
Here are a couple of almost-useless links from the Alabama Department of
Human Resources website:
But, at least they may give you a little idea of what they may have
available for someone this kids age.
Mostly, what I was looking for is to see what programs or servcies they have
for children and youth who are transitioning into adulthood. The federal
government has had a big push on for states to provide programs for children
and youth who are "aging out" of the system; usually meaning kids who are 16
or 17 through 21 years of age and who have grown up in foster care or other
My guess is that you'll find that this kid was "in the system", meaning that
he received some kind of subsidy or assistance and he may have been in a
state funded foster home, therapeutic home, etc. Usually, when a kid is (or
was) "in the system", he/she is eligible for some types of transitional or
independent living programs up to or including age 21.
And, as others have suggested, my guess is that he bombed out of whatever
program he was in with the family who let him stay until he graduated from
high school. That doesn't mean that he can't get into another program, but
it is very possible that he keeps bombing out of his placements because he
won't do what he needs to do, won't cooperate with his caretakers and is
oppositional and defiant, or runs the streets at all hours, or is involved
with drugs and/or criminal/delinquent behavior. So, there is a good chance
that even if you could "help" him by helping him find a program to get into,
he'll bomb out. Regular teens who have a job and are generally motivated
and cooperative with their caretakers don't get booted out of every place
that they live.
He may also have mental health issues and may or may not be on psychiatric
meds (or he is supposed to be on them but refuses to take them). I mention
this last part about the meds because the military will not take kids who
have certain mental health issues and/or are on certain mental health
As you may have already guessed, I have lots of experience in working with
kids in this age range who are, or have been, in out-of-home placements for
various reasons (family problems, behavior problems, mental health issues,
etc.). I have this experience through my various work settings over the
years and at present, as well as for the past 2 years trying to help two
older teens/young-adults with similar issues of being homeless etc.
In general, I agree with what a number of people here have said that no
matter what you do or try to do to help this kid, there is a good chance
that inherent in his personality are qualities that will cause him to not
benefit from your help or help from anyone else. This can be due to lack of
motivation, lack of social skills, a "the world owes me" mentality, genuine
mental health issues, drug and/or crime involvement, etc.
Despite all of the above, I still try to help kids in these situations as
much as I can, and it sounds like you would like to a least do a little to
try in this kid's case.
If you want to do that, I would suggest some or all of the following:
Find out where the local County office for children and youth services is
located and have the kid contact them. If he was "in the system", they will
know him. And, if he was in but bombed out, they won't be very enthused
about the idea of continuing to try to help him. They may be just as happy
to cut him loose and keep him off the taxpayers' dole. But, they may have
transitional or independent living programs for which he would be eligible.
If he qualifies, the idea of him joining the military is a good one. It's
definitely 3 hots and a cot, and it's a paid job. If he is just a
knucklehead that managed to get himself "homeless", and if he does not have
a serious mental health issues and/or mental health meds, they may be glad
to take him in.
Have him look for a "social services" (welfare?) office in his County and go
there and apply for benefits. There are federal "food stamps" (called SNAP)
programs for which he is probably eligible if he is not working. He may
also qualify for "GA" (General Assistance) which is a small monthly stipend
until he gets a job. Most of these programs are funded through the federal
government but managed through the local County social services ("welfare")
Have him go to some temporary help employment agencies to sign up for work.
They send people out on temporary assignments doing things like working in a
warehouse, unloading trucks and railroad boxcars, working on factory
assembly lines, etc. They have many applicants who do not have
transportation and they can either pick jobs sites for them near
transportation or, in some cases, the workers meet at the temp help place
and take a van or ride in a co-worker's car to get to work and back.
I wouldn't worry too much about finding "shelters" or similar places for
homeless people. So far, he seems to be okay doing the couch surfing routine
that he has going on with friends and others. Plus, the homeless shelter
programs are really gross and not suited for someone his age.
P.S. I just noticed that this link says,
"Youth Covered By Policy
All youth ages fourteen (14) years and older served by DHR shall receive IL
services. This includes:
a.. Youth in DHR custody who are currently living in a licensed approved
out-of-home care placement or who are on a trial home visit;
a.. Youth receiving on-going protective services; and
a.. Youth ages eighteen through twenty years who (1) have been discharged
from the system of care, (2) were in foster care on or prior to their
eighteenth birthday, and (3) have returned to DHR to request services."
That last paragraph means that if the kid that you want to help was "in the
system" before age 18, he can return and ask for transitional or independent
To the point, well said.
Keeps bombing out of placements. I'm remembering a friend from years
ago. He adopted a boy of about 14, who had been in the system.
Intelligent, cheerful, handsome, and very talented boy. But, he'd
developed a pattern of bombing out. As much as my friend tried to help,
finally had to take the kid back to the "system" and it was a sad day
for us all.
I've also heard that Russian orphanage kids are unmanagable, also. My
cousin adopted a four year old Russian orphanage boy. Now in his teens,
the boy is homeless, unmotivated, and trouble in so many ways.
Christopher A. Young
Learn more about Jesus
wrote in message
And, as others have suggested, my guess is that he bombed out of
program he was in with the family who let him stay until he graduated
high school. That doesn't mean that he can't get into another program,
it is very possible that he keeps bombing out of his placements because
won't do what he needs to do, won't cooperate with his caretakers and is
oppositional and defiant, or runs the streets at all hours, or is
with drugs and/or criminal/delinquent behavior. So, there is a good
that even if you could "help" him by helping him find a program to get
he'll bomb out. Regular teens who have a job and are generally
and cooperative with their caretakers don't get booted out of every
that they live.
Why did they ask him to leave? Let me guess, he did nothing around
the house to help, he did nothing to help himself better his position.
He thinks he should get everything for free.
I have a relative in a similar situation. He lived with us for a
while but finally moved out. He has friends in similar situations.
They have very little ambition and can't keep a job if they do get
My suggestion is to stop feeling sorry for the kid and let him take
his lumps. The guy I'm talking about agreed to do some work for me to
make some money. That was last summer. This weekend I'm going to
finish one of the jobs he started but never completed.
I wish you good luck, but if your situation is anything like mine, He
really does not want "help", he just wants you to do everything for
What about his joining the military, like the Navy or Air Force.
It'll give him a roof to sleep under, three squares a day, a regular pay
cheque and train him for a career, depending on what he chooses as a
carreer path. And, it'll teach him teamwork, leadership skills and self
discipline, all of which are critical to making something of yourself in
The US Navy, for example, has an excellent electrical engineering
program. Many heavy duty diesel mechanics get trained in the army
working on military trucks and equipment. The Air Force trains people
to work as jet engine mechanics, and that's a well paying job in
civilian life. You can even train to be a doctor or lawyer in the US
military if you have the right stuff between your ears.
There are millions of people in the US that got their career training in
the US military and went on to become successful professionals,
tradespeople and business owners in civilian life. And I expect many of
them would attribute much of their success in life to the values
instilled in them by the military.
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