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Old 06-15-2015, 12:39 PM   #21
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A lot has been written about being young and living in an ultraexpensive city without family resources and assistance. I honestly don't know how young adults can make it without education and/or skills in a job that's in demand in the San Francisco area.
This is one situation where Shelia should consider joining the U.S. Armed Forces if she's mentally and physically fit. They have college savings programs, and many colleges are available online on bases. You can get an education that will carry over to private life--and not have to worry where you'll next spend the night and where your next meal will come from.
You know the armed services is another good option that never occurred to me to suggest. Thanks. That is an excellent idea to at least bring up for discussion.

This and all the other great options mentioned so far are exactly the kind of brainstorming I was hoping to get from this group.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:49 PM   #22
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Sheila is actively looking for financial aid / public assistance and an affordable place to live, working, and going to school but could use a hand navigating the financial aid and public assistance programs. The aid maze is not something a young adult from a relatively well off family has life experience dealing with. BTW - Sheila has not asked or expected us to help. Our kids alerted us to the latest family drama, are worried about her and asked us to do what we could to help so I've started thinking about what we could do and where to start.
We've been "helping" our granddaughter ever since her mother went through a divorce and ran off to Alaska with her boyfriend (yeah, that happens). GDD's dad is worthless and moved to Pennsylvania to "go hunting" and never returned.

Our Granddaughter lived with us for her last two years in high school and a bit longer then got into the community college system and after two years, transferred to Sam Houston State College where she is a senior now. We bought her a very used Toyota Camry for transportation.

While we helped with finances, she works part time and gets grants for tuition, etc. She will graduate with $2,400 in student debt. We are very proud of her. She hasn't had much help, other than from us, but is very frugal and will be out on her own in a year, and determined to make something of her life.

There's a lot of information suggested above for financial help for school and maybe food stamps, but her day-to-day living expenses need to be evaluated and covered.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:54 PM   #23
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I don't have kids so I don't have a lot of practical tips, but if you do let her stay with you for some time, you may want to consider a written "contract". You indicate her family may have some blame in the living situation, but without actually living in their home, it's hard to know how she's contributed as well. Based on what you said, it sounds like she's a hard working kid, and you may want to help with a place to live. But consider being explicit in writing about your expectations - do you require her to be in school, working full/part time? What about any drugs or alcohol use, visitors to the house etc.

It doesn't need to be a formal contract, but if you have certain rules or expectations, it's good to be clear about them upfront.

And it's nice of you to want to help.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:59 PM   #24
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Sheila is actively looking for financial aid / public assistance and an affordable place to live, working, and going to school but could use a hand navigating the financial aid and public assistance programs. The aid maze is not something a young adult from a relatively well off family has life experience dealing with. BTW - Sheila has not asked or expected us to help. Our kids alerted us to the latest family drama, are worried about her and asked us to do what we could to help so I've started thinking about what we could do and where to start.
I think it is wonderful that you are stepping up to assist.

I w*rked as a mother's helper for a local family in high school when my parents divorced. I did not live in at their home, but I was there 4 days a week. My Mom did not want me to w*rk at all during high school, but after she met the family and got the absolute assurance that my studies came first, it was a WIN-WIN. My duties were laundry, cat care, putting the already prepared casserole in the oven, and being the responsible "older sister" to 3 boys until the parents came home from night graduate courses. I ate dinner with them and then was driven home. I also did multiple week house sitting when they took family vacations. They paid me very well.

Is it a possibility for your niece to do a similar function for you or a family you know well ? Or, maybe just getting her set up in an apartment (rent and security deposit) would pave the way for her to be able to declare herself independent. Would money gifts from you affect her financial aid ?
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:16 PM   #25
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It is one of those families that puts the "fun" in dysfunctional. I may be stepping in because our kids have asked me to. They don't want to go to the local park and see Sheila sleeping on a bench, especially when we have a warm house with spare bedrooms. Right now every time the parents get mad she is literally on the bench until some friend or family find out and ends up taking her in. I want to break this cycle and find a long term solution that allows Sheila to be self supporting, even if we have to pay for a year of tech school and room and board or whatever.

It is all well and good to say don't get involved or let her fend for herself, but we live in an area where minimum wage is something like $8 dollars an hour and tract homes can cost over a million dollars. That simply isn't a living wage. It is hard for kids not too far out of high school to just go out and live on their own without some kind of plan or help from grown ups. We've read a lot of the foster kids just end up homeless when they turn 18.

While Sheila may not have been class valedictorian and all the family issues do not reside solely with the parents, I know from keeping and juggling jobs and school she seems to be a hard worker and deserves better than homelessness.

Actually, I did not say do not get involved.... I just said to watch out for family dynamics....

It sounds like her parents are well off... they could easily afford to help her out, but for some reason has chosen not to.... it could be their fault, or her fault... I do not know and from what I read neither do you... do you know the parents and if so do they seem to be normal Something is happening there and I would like to at least know a bit before diving into something that might blow up in my face...


It sounds like your help would be better served in helping her navigate 'the system'.... but not to just throw money at her... if she is smart, she will be able to make it with a little help... if she is not, no amount of help will help...

One of my sisters husbands family has strange dynamics... most are on welfare and/or 'disability'.... any help to them is just a waste... however, my sister help a number of them at different times... mostly by allowing them to live at her place for awhile so they could 'get on their feet'... not a lot out of pocket and you can see if they are actually progressing or not... money handed to them and you have no idea what happens to it...
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:21 PM   #26
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I also commend you for taking the chance and helping her. It sounds like a worthwhile risk, and could make a huge difference in her life.
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Old 06-15-2015, 01:50 PM   #27
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Actually, I did not say do not get involved.... I just said to watch out for family dynamics....

It sounds like her parents are well off... they could easily afford to help her out, but for some reason has chosen not to
I would rather not post more details, but it is not a money issue at all, at least not on the parents end. I know enough there is fault on both sides, I just don't think homelessness is the appropriate consequence. Plus it is easier to be a good student, citizen, son or daughter, and employee when one is raised in a nurturing, emotionally and financially supporting, non-fragmented family.

DH and I agree we aren't going to sit at home at night watching Netflix in our house with the spare rooms wondering what park Sheila is at that night, and whether she is cold, hungry, being robbed or worse and having made no attempt all to step in and help.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:02 PM   #28
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Another alternative might be to join VISTA. DW served with them for a year between her Bachelors and Masters but I think they also take motivated young people without degrees and offer a living stipend during the period of service and a $5,500 scholarship for those who complete their service.

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Each VISTA member makes a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project at a nonprofit organization or public agency. In return for their service, AmeriCorps VISTA members receive a modest living allowance and health benefits during their service, and have the option of receiving a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or post-service stipend after completing their service.
AmeriCorps VISTA | Corporation for National and Community Service

Also, depending on what she is training for, the Job Corps also has some good training programs for young people.

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Through a nationwide network of campuses, Job Corps offers a comprehensive array of career development services to at-risk young women and men, ages 16 to 24, to prepare them for successful careers. Job Corps employs a holistic career development training approach which integrates the teaching of academic, vocational, employability skills and social competencies through a combination of classroom, practical and based learning experiences to prepare youth for stable, long-term, high-paying jobs.
Welcome to Job Corps
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:05 PM   #29
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Another alternative might be to join VISTA. DW served with them for a year between her Bachelors and Masters but I think they also take motivated young people without degrees and offer a living stipend during the period of service and a $5,500 scholarship for those who complete their service.

AmeriCorps VISTA | Corporation for National and Community Service

Also, depending on what she is training for, the Job Corps also has some good training programs for young people.

Welcome to Job Corps
I didn't know about either of those options either. Thanks!
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:12 PM   #30
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Is it a possibility for your niece to do a similar function for you or a family you know well ? Or, maybe just getting her set up in an apartment (rent and security deposit) would pave the way for her to be able to declare herself independent. Would money gifts from you affect her financial aid ?
I'll bring up the nanny / home health aid idea. Maybe something like Daphne on Frasier. Otherwise I think the apartment set up in a lower cost of living area near an affordable college with perhaps some short term certificate programs is looking like the best long term solution. I have to look into gifts and financial aid. Good points.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:23 PM   #31
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I think the apartment set up in a lower cost of living area near an affordable college with perhaps some short term certificate programs is looking like the best long term solution. I have to look into gifts and financial aid. Good points.
This is what we did for granddaughter once she was in college and out of our house. Financial aid was a blessing and we just helped with day-to-day stuff when needed, which was infrequent.
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Old 06-15-2015, 02:24 PM   #32
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I don't have kids so I don't have a lot of practical tips, but if you do let her stay with you for some time, you may want to consider a written "contract". You indicate her family may have some blame in the living situation, but without actually living in their home, it's hard to know how she's contributed as well. Based on what you said, it sounds like she's a hard working kid, and you may want to help with a place to live. But consider being explicit in writing about your expectations - do you require her to be in school, working full/part time? What about any drugs or alcohol use, visitors to the house etc.

It doesn't need to be a formal contract, but if you have certain rules or expectations, it's good to be clear about them upfront.

And it's nice of you to want to help.
Those are all good points we need to consider. I have thought about this and I would rather continue to work part-time or use this year's slush fund to help provide support, if it comes to that, than raise another young adult, living in our home and deal with issues like car and house rules again.
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Old 06-15-2015, 03:08 PM   #33
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I'll bring up the nanny / home health aid idea. Maybe something like Daphne on Frasier. Otherwise I think the apartment set up in a lower cost of living area near an affordable college with perhaps some short term certificate programs is looking like the best long term solution. I have to look into gifts and financial aid. Good points.
Allow me to clarify. I did very simple things for their household, none of which were time consuming. While the laundry ran, I did my homework. The 3 boys did not require babysitting, they were of an age that they could go next door to play with their friends until dark. I was simply "holding down the fort" until the parents came home from night college classes.

A home health care or nanny to small children will be a very large time investment for a young lady who is w*rking part time and going to school. A "mother's helper" is a more flexible arrangement as far as scheduling and time commitment goes. I found the ad in the local newspaper.

As far as gifts go, cash is king. No paper trail.
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Old 06-15-2015, 04:55 PM   #34
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Having raised my children in an area with affluent families let me assure that they have their share of disfunction and manipulative behavior. I remember overhearing my kids talk about a family where a parent was using meth as a performance enhancer in the early 80. If the parents are dysfunctional odds are their kid has developed responses that will need modification.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:07 PM   #35
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If the parents are dysfunctional odds are their kid has developed responses that will need modification.
No doubt true, the problem with growing up in a dysfunctional environment is that the kid(s) have no or little standard of comparison so they don't know what is "normal".

But it can be overcome. We are acquainted with a young lady who had a terrible childhood, including a mother who broke some of her bones. But she had some help and now at age 25 has an AA degree that she paid for herself, is working, is living in a shared apartment on her own, has had two promotions at her job within the last year, and is in the U.S. Navy reserves. I wrote about her in a thread here. I'd call her a success story. It certainly could have turned out a lot worse.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:30 PM   #36
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And let me also say that Shelia should be on birth control--preferably an implant if that would work for her.

No surprises are needed at this time in her life. Those down on their luck more often than not bring little ones into dysfunctional families before it's time.
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Old 06-16-2015, 09:34 PM   #37
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Yes, sex is what puts the "fun" in dysfunctional families.
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Old 06-26-2015, 08:16 PM   #38
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Any update? What did you decide to do?
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Old 06-26-2015, 10:04 PM   #39
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I made the offer to help with a positive response. It seemed to be well received but I have not heard anything more. I think she is trying to work things out on her own and with her own parents first. She is farther long in her degree than I thought so she just would need help getting over the finish line. She has a practical degree so will be fine once she is done with school, even living in a high cost of living area.

It is just the rent prices that are so crazy now. Someone is trying to rent a tent in their back yard on Airbnb for $899 a month. It is near Google HQ, but still....

http://sf.curbed.com/archives/2015/0...e_bay_area.php

I think worst case we provide supplemental financial support for a year or two. DH and I both agree that would be money well spent

Thanks again for all the advice and suggestions.
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Old 07-14-2015, 12:22 PM   #40
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I thought I'd give an update. I had a long talk with "Sheila" with offers to help with many of the suggestions here and budget and financial help that would lead to relatively short term independence. (As before I changed the details slightly to protect her privacy.) Shelia does have a practical degree in mind but that is evidently the very long term plan. Her plan for the next several years is a more starving artist path, budget that is paycheck to paycheck at best, no emergency fund, keeping a sporty but expensive to insure, poor MPG and unreliable, often in the shop car, counting on financial help from an off again, on again boyfriend, etc.

So I tried. I think she was looking for money more than advice. As an adult that is certainly her choice. We left the door open and we're here if she changes her mind.
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