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Helping Very Low Income Young Adult
Old 06-15-2015, 01:56 AM   #1
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Helping Very Low Income Young Adult

I've been asked to help a young person estranged from her family with support. I don't want to post particulars but lets say it is a niece named Sheila who has parents that may be withdrawing financial support.

Sheila currently works part-time and goes to school part-time. Rent here has the dubious honor of being highest in the nation so Sheila can't afford to move out, work part-time and still go to school unless she moves some place less expensive. I just did a scan for renting a room in the Bay Area and came up with very little for $500 a month or less.

I don't think she can get financial aid for housing while going to community college, and in California I don't think she can transfer to a public 4 year school until she has 60 credits. Her goal is an AA degree and certificate program anyway.

Can she qualify for Section 8, food stamps, Medicaid + ? I know for financial aid on the FAFSA we have an expected family contribution until our kids are 24. What do college age kids do when they are under 24 and their parents refuse support? She seems to be between a rock and a hard place.

Any suggestions? Where do I start looking on how to help her? I looked and even mobile home parks here seem to charge $1K a month space rent. We can provide some financial support or temporary housing but I need to help her with a long term plan.
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Old 06-15-2015, 05:43 AM   #2
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There isn't going to be much that can help her, program wise. Those are mostly intended for folks with young children. One suggestion is make is for her (perhaps with you tagging along) make an appointment for the community college's advising office. They may know more about specific eligibility for low income students and have info on lower cost housing options.
You are a kind person to help, and hopefully this will be a short term crisis. She may need to consider taking a couple of semesters off school when she builds up some cushion with a more full time job, in a worst case scenario.
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Old 06-15-2015, 06:14 AM   #3
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Could she become a live in housekeeper for an elder person while she is going to school?
Or live in nanny?
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:00 AM   #4
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My first question would be "why is her family withdrawing support"?
Sometimes a person needs to be set free in order to fly.
It is hard to watch a loved one suffer but we've recently been dealing with a family situation and have learned through research and workshops that at times it is best to stop enabling a person.
This may not apply in your situation but should be food for thought.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post

Can she qualify for Section 8, food stamps, Medicaid + ? I know for financial aid on the FAFSA we have an expected family contribution until our kids are 24. What do college age kids do when they are under 24 and their parents refuse support? She seems to be between a rock and a hard place.

Any suggestions? Where do I start looking on how to help her? I looked and even mobile home parks here seem to charge $1K a month space rent. We can provide some financial support or temporary housing but I need to help her with a long term plan.
Yes, she is eligible for food stamps (SNAP) and Medicaid. If she is paying any school costs she might also be eligible for aid. She needs to contact the financial aid counselor and ask to be registered as independent from her parents. If she meets the criteria, and it sounds like she does, that will eliminate the expected family support and make her eligible for any financial assistance programs the school has.
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:22 AM   #6
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These links may be helpful from a college financial aid perspective:

How Do I Become Independent on the FAFSA If I Am Under Age 24? - Fastweb

FAFSA Dependency - Determining dependency for the FAFSA form
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Old 06-15-2015, 07:45 AM   #7
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Around here there are some homeshare programs where one could have a room with an elderly or disabled person who needs some light help and company at no or highly reduced rent as I understand it though I do not know much about it.

My son simply rents a room from someone and has found that to be affordable or perhaps she might share an apartment with some other students where she is going to school so rent is split many ways.

It also sounds like visits to a social worker and a financial aid counselor from her school to see what assistance programs she qualifies for would be a good first step.

I think it is great that you are stepping up for her... good for you. Also, while I'm fiscally conservative I'm all for programs that temporarily help people like Shelia in a bad spot that want to get trained and become productive citizens and taxpayers.

Good luck.
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:17 AM   #8
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My first question would be "why is her family withdrawing support"?
Sometimes a person needs to be set free in order to fly.
It is hard to watch a loved one suffer but we've recently been dealing with a family situation and have learned through research and workshops that at times it is best to stop enabling a person.
This may not apply in your situation but should be food for thought.

+1 on why support is being withdrawn..... there has to be a reason...


Also, what kind of family dynamics are you stepping into with the help?



I would not rule out any help, but I would want to know why I should be the one to help and also make sure I do not piss of her parents... I did help a niece out with $3K per semester for a couple of years.... her parents paid for her undergrad but told her she was on her on for grad school... the downside is she got a law degree but barely works... she lives with her BF who works at Facebook or Google... not sure which.... so does not need to work... but does work part time...

Kinda feel I wasted my money....
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Old 06-15-2015, 08:34 AM   #9
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These links may be helpful from a college financial aid perspective:

How Do I Become Independent on the FAFSA If I Am Under Age 24? - Fastweb
Quote:
Unusual circumstances that may merit a dependency override, subject to a case-by-case review by and the professional judgment of the college financial aid administrator, include an abusive family environment (e.g., court protection from abuse orders against the parents), abandonment by the parents, or the incarceration, hospitalization or institutionalization of both parents.
I believe this is the process my future daughter-in-law went through in what sounds like a similar situation. When I first met her I admit I was wondering a bit what she did to get kicked out at 18, but what I've seen the last couple years is a young lady working hard while also using financial aid to get her degree so either she wasn't the problem or she grew up very quickly. She had a lot of help from a family friend who probably helped her file for the dependency override, and also co-signed student loans, and the fact that someone would put their own credit on the line also tells me something about her. They also her other sound advice, just for example like she already had been getting her free credit reports when I suggested it. She doesn't really like to talk about her past situation much so I'm not going to ask, but this is one avenue to try.

Other than that and the other suggestions like finding roommates, a live-in job, or taking time off to build up some savings, my only other suggestion is to consider moving to a lower cost area and transferring the credits to another school.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:11 AM   #10
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+1 on why support is being withdrawn..... there has to be a reason...

Also, what kind of family dynamics are you stepping into with the help?
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.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:21 AM   #11
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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.
It's unclear from the other posts if your spare bedrooms are close enough to Sheila's college for you to offer housing. A free place to stay costs you little and helps her lots.

College aid is not dependent on whether parents "support" a kid or not. If anyone could get aid by having their parents sign an affidavit of "refusal of support" then that would likely become the normal situation fast. There are procedures for establishing that a student is truly independent, or that the family situation is in crisis so exceptions are made. She should pursue her options with the college financial aid office. It may take some persistence, but they should know what options are available.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
There isn't going to be much that can help her, program wise. Those are mostly intended for folks with young children. One suggestion is make is for her (perhaps with you tagging along) make an appointment for the community college's advising office. They may know more about specific eligibility for low income students and have info on lower cost housing options.
You are a kind person to help, and hopefully this will be a short term crisis. She may need to consider taking a couple of semesters off school when she builds up some cushion with a more full time job, in a worst case scenario.
Yes, I had thought about tagging alone with a financial aid counselor. I think the problem with working full time and staying here is it is hard to make a living wage without some kind of skills other than fast food or retail.

She could work full time in a less expensive area but then she would start off not having a job, need initial financial support and leave the job she does have here. However, that may be the best long term solution. Just an hour or so away rent prices do drop considerably and I think that may be a good long term route.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:26 AM   #13
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It's unclear from the other posts if your spare bedrooms are close enough to Sheila's college for you to offer housing. A free place to stay costs you little and helps her lots.
They are close enough, which is why the whole situation becomes our problem to solve.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:33 AM   #14
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Could she become a live in housekeeper for an elder person while she is going to school?
Or live in nanny?
That is an excellent suggestion.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:36 AM   #15
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My first question would be "why is her family withdrawing support"?
Sometimes a person needs to be set free in order to fly.
It is hard to watch a loved one suffer but we've recently been dealing with a family situation and have learned through research and workshops that at times it is best to stop enabling a person.
This may not apply in your situation but should be food for thought.
I think there is a wide gap between enabling and letting some young person who is working and going to school become homeless. The issue here is the local cost of housing, not a lack of work ethics. I am trying to come up with a teach to fish plan.
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Old 06-15-2015, 09:59 AM   #16
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Other than that and the other suggestions like finding roommates, a live-in job, or taking time off to build up some savings, my only other suggestion is to consider moving to a lower cost area and transferring the credits to another school.
I have been thinking the high cost of living is really the fundamental issue and maybe transferring schools is the best long term solution. Rent prices drop significantly just an hour or so away. The roommate issue is that I looked on Craigslist and there just wasn't a lot to choose from right now that was affordable even with roommates.

Even middle class families are being driven out. The fundamental issue is The Bay Area generated 114,000 net new jobs last year — and only 8,000 units of housing, and some of that is being bought up by overseas investors and hedge funds. That does crazy stuff to rental rates and housing prices, at least until the bubble pops again.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:07 AM   #17
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I think there is a wide gap between enabling and letting some young person who is working and going to school become homeless. The issue here is the local cost of housing, not a lack of work ethics. I am trying to come up with a teach to fish plan.
I agree, if she isn't actively assisting the dysfunction it's an entirely different thing. I really can't add much other than say I'd likely help her in some way.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:28 AM   #18
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Not sure of CA rules, in IL for food stamps, you couldn't make more than $1000 a month and if you live with someone you had to count in their $$ too unless you could prove completely separate everything (they can't share any meals with you) else your considered part of her "household".


As for housing, make sure she is checking the college bulletin boards, that is always where I found roommates in college.


Obviously declaring independence is step one in financial aid. If need be maybe it means taking a semester off to earn enough money. I alternated between work and school, taking 5 years to complete (with 2 8 month stints of working 70 hrs/ week in 2 minimum wage jobs). I ate mostly ramen noodles, mac & cheese , canned soup, and PB&J as else didn't have the money to pay the heat bill. Frankly I don't regret one minute of it as it created the drive and work ethic that got me to 6 figures before the age of 30.


I agree in helping out, but just make sure they are also putting in the drive to make it happen rather than waiting for someone else to "fix" it.
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Old 06-15-2015, 10:42 AM   #19
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I agree in helping out, but just make sure they are also putting in the drive to make it happen rather than waiting for someone else to "fix" it.
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.
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Old 06-15-2015, 12:17 PM   #20
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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.
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