Homelessness, Addiction and Hope Continued

I have had some time to reflect on my last post and realize that I can try and plan what Aaron should do and how he should do it, but he is an adult and he needs to learn to make his own decisions. He needs to get his temporary housing approved every two weeks and also work with Social Services to look for an apartment. I asked him to have the case worker call me so that I can assist in this search. It seems as though he forgets to do this and I am concerned that he will not be approved for his temporary housing at the hotel and become homeless again. I feel like I am more vested in this than he is.

I also think about how my mother and sister enabled him by fixing problems that he created and how he really never learned to make independent decisions. It was always my mother that was trying to fix the problem and bail him out financially or by not giving up as she called various offices, programs and individuals to try and fix the latest problem. My mother was a force to reckon with and would not take no as an answer. When she passed, this fell to my sister, Aaron’s mother. The problem was that my mother was doing the same thing for her daughter and Aaron’s mother wasn’t able to fix her own problems after my mother passed. My sister’s life started to fall apart after our mother passed.

Aaron was living on the streets of Camden on a regular basis after my mother passed and going back to his mother’s apartment to get food and money on an inconsistent time frame. He would show up, eat all of the food in the house, harass her for money and leave after she called the police. She often called me and asked me to make him leave, but I reminded her that this was an on-going routine and I couldn’t make it stop. She and my mother both called the police to get Aaron to leave and the police also told both of them that there wasn’t anything that they could do unless they pressed charges. Finally, the apartment complex got tired of this problem and started proceedings to prohibit Aaron from coming to the apartment. It ended with the apartment complex evicting Linda.

During this eviction process, Linda started using more drugs and her health deteriorated to the point that I found her on the floor of her apartment unresponsive and called 911. This was the beginning of the end for Linda who died less than two months later. It was the beginning of the end for Aaron as well because he had no where to go except the streets of Camden. For the next three years he lived on the streets of Camden and spend about 32 days in Cooper Hospital each of those three years and almost died. It was at this point that he made a connection with the various programs at Cooper and has reached this point where he is drug free and relatively healthy.

Hope? Yes, I believe he has hope for continued improvement and the possibility of a more normal life. However, there are still so many obstacles to overcome and he still hasn’t learned to manage the money that he now gets or how to persist in following through with tasks that will get him into his own apartment. I keep wondering if the next 14 days will be his last temporary housing at the motel. I keep wondering what can be done if he doesn’t have anywhere to go and how to get him to really make finding an apartment a real priority.

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I have a BA in Psychology and a teaching certificate as a Special Education teacher. I have a MA in Student Personnel Services and I recently retired from my position as a Guidance Counselor. I have been active on advisory boards concerning disability issues for over 25 years. I also have over 25 years of business experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.

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