General Question

jtvoar16's avatar

What options does an 18yo runaway have?

Asked by jtvoar16 (2171points) June 16th, 2014

I’m curious to know what options a female would have if she ran away from home at the age of 18.
She will only have about $1,000.

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47 Answers

cookieman's avatar

Not many that are not unfavorable, demoralizing, or dangerous.

If one must leave home at eighteen (and I’ll leave it to you to decide if you really must), I’d suggest a trusted relative’s house first. This way, you’re somewhere safe while you try to work out things at home.

jtvoar16's avatar

@cookieman She has no one like that. No relatives or friends.

cookieman's avatar

@jtvoar16: Who are you to her then?

Also, is she still in high school? College? Is the situation at home dangerous? Does it warrant “running away”?

jtvoar16's avatar

A friend but she can’t stay with me.
No and no.
And a resounding yes to your last question.

Judi's avatar

Does she have a job?
What city does she life in?

LuckyGuy's avatar

If the situation at home is dangerous call the department of social services and/or the police.
Running away might prove to be far more dangerous.

jtvoar16's avatar

No she’s been trying desperately to.

jtvoar16's avatar

That’s not an option. She’s tried and it made the situation wrose. Nothing happened other than more of her life got ruined.

Judi's avatar

An option might be the military.
She may be able to rent a room on craigslist while she looks for work. Even if it’s fast food or retail a room in a house is cheaper than renting an apartment. I asked the city because some places are cheaper than others. $1000 won’t go very far in LA or NYC.

Thammuz's avatar

I’ll assume you’re living in the US.

If she has no friends, no safety net and no job, 1000$ is not going to matter much.

If she absolutely must run off now or in a future so immediate that she can’t wait for a job and a salary first, I suggest looking for a couple flatmates who are aware that she needs to find a job.

Having friends would make this whole thing much easier. Lots of employers i know have pulled strings to help friends of their employees in times of need. Then agin it’s not like she can just “make friends” all of a sudden.

Them military, as @Judi suggested is an option, but she would have to weight “potentially being shot at” against “continuing to live at home”. Not saying that can’t be a good choice, but it’s rare that it is.

That said, there’s always porn. I know everyone is skirting around it, but it is an option, and a legal one, she just needs to go to some professionals, and look up their work before applying.

jtvoar16's avatar

She’s looked into the military, and they won’t accept her due to her asthma.

Judi's avatar

A homeless shelter is also an option. They help people with resumes and interview skills. Their goal is to help people to become self sufficient.

chyna's avatar

If she is battered, there are shelters for battered women where they take them in and help the women get back on their feet. They help them find jobs and usually they are in a place where no one can find them if that is her fear.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That thousand dollars elevates her from derelict status. But her location is key. A thousand dollars is one thing in Fort Dodge, Iowa, but quite a different reality in lower Manhattan. These are times when neither employment nor lodging opportunities are readily abundant. Best to lean on understanding friends or relatives. , It is imperative that she avail herself of all possible help from local social service agencies. This is particularly true regarding her asthma condition and the allergies that invariably plague asthmatics.

JLeslie's avatar

If she is able to stay with friends or a relative for a few weeks she can get a job and eventually move in with some roomates. I had just over $1,000 when I moved out on my own. I had a college degree, but my first job out of college was a salesperson at a department store, and the college degree was not necessary. I was making about $14 an hour (straight commision though). I agree location will matter a lot. Some places have reasonable costs of living and decent wages. I had a car, I am assuming the runaway doesn’t have a car?

gailcalled's avatar

She has no one like that. No relatives or friends.

The only feasible option that you haven’t rejected is finding a battered women’s shelter; they are designed for just the desperate situation you are describing. There are staff trained to help her get back on her feet, provide some resources; and certainly find some kind of entry-level job. But most importantly, they will afford her protection.

Here is a very long list of California domestic violence resources ; from what you mentioned in an earlier question, it implies that your young friend lives in CA., if you’re talking about the same person.

In addition to the statewide organizations, there are many here listed county by county.

$1000 will not last very long.

JLeslie's avatar

If a shelter won’t take her then renting a room might be the way to go as someone suggested above. Look for a job right away.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jtvoar16 Does she have her high school diploma?

Unbroken's avatar

She can look on craigslist for an untrained live in care position better then the streets any way. But yeah the best option is a shelter.

Seek's avatar

^ Live in care isn’t a bad idea.

There are several websites devoted to hooking up people with caregivers. If she has a drivers’ license that’s even better. There are elderly people looking for someone mostly to keep them company, fix their meals and drive them to doctors’ appointments and the grocery store. There are working parents with a spare bedroom who’d like someone to clean up the house and do the laundry and get Junior off to school.

Other than that, I agree with @gailcalled and @chyna that the women’s shelter is the best bet immediately.

There is also a government-sponsored program for young people (16–24) to gain work experience. The one in my area (Tampa, FL) is live-in. They provide housing, food, and education, and job placement assistance if you complete the program.

I understand that this person may live in California. Here is a link to all the JobCorps centers in Cali:

GloPro's avatar

You can rent a room for $250—$350 in most places. That gives her a month of time. Someone may be generous enough to give her the rest of this month for free. That’s 6 weeks of time to take additional steps for only $350. It’s crucial to pick a house that she feels will help her make friends and network, and not just some shithole.

She can go to a food bank and stock up on some food to save some money.

It is crucial that she understands that any job will be keeping her busy and earning her income. Priority is to get a job. Some people feel McDonalds or Wal-Mart are beneath them… She won’t have that luxury until she has her feet under her a bit. She must apply for every single menial job she can think of. Climbing the ladder means standing on the first rung, too. In interviews I would avoid talking about negative situations in my life.

You didn’t mention if she has a car. That impacts home/job location. If not, study the public transportation options. Or spend another $50 and buy a used bike. Maintaining a car is very expensive.

Regardless of being religious, check the church bulletin section of the paper. Many churches will have hot dinner nights. And I have found that regardless of what I believe about God, sometimes there are good lessons in the sermons. Think about that.

She will need HUGE balls to get out. But $1000 is a nice jumping place if she has the tenacity to actually get away and improve her situation. It is a long and hard road ahead, but she can do it.

The time for making smart decisions is now. She cannot afford to make poor ones concerning the house she chooses, the company she keeps, and the path she takes. Too many people at this exact stage can take the low road. Don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.

I wish her the best of luck and strong character.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@jtvoar16 And make sure she understands the dangers out there. A lot of people prey on runaways. No job skills, no money and no friends leaves them very vulnerable.

GloPro's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe Is an 18 year old really a runaway? I get your point about being preyed on, which is why I stress taking the high road and choosing wisely on the home she moves into. But 18 is a pretty standard age to start your adult life.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Goal #1 is getting a safe, reasonably stable place to live. Goal #2 is access to food (if she finds someplace to stay but needs to purchase her own groceries, the $1,000 won’t last very long).

A live-in domestic job would both keep her from being homeless and provide her with meals. If she’s good with children, she could take a nanny position. She could also be a 24-hour companion to someone elderly or disabled.

Does she have the age or experience to do either job? Probably not. But, if she has a good personal background (stayed in school and no criminal record) and can get reference letters from a few high school teachers, she should be able to find something. People are quick to ignore a lack of work history if they can hire somebody for a pittance.

Seek's avatar

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING is that this person realise that their situation is not hopeless. They are not stuck in the place where they are being abused. It is not their own fault, no part of it is, and they can break out and get away. I highly recommend the JobCorps system, because they take care of you and train you for work at the same time. It’s been available for over 50 years because it works.

I implore this person not to feel like they are not “worth” the effort they must put into their own lives, in order to remove themselves from this situation. It will be hard. Very hard. They’ll be leaving familiar if uncomfortable surroundings and be entirely responsible for themselves. It is emotionally tumultuous, and I understand that.

I just want this person to know how strong they are. How capable they are. How very many options will be open to them, if only they work for them.

Whoever they are, I am proud of them.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@GloPro I just used runaway because she’s fleeing a bad situation, leaving any possible support and going out on her own without a job or much cash.

GloPro's avatar

I may be horrible, but if my children were involved, I would not hire a live-in nanny that moved in with me to run away from a bad situation. Again… Careful about sharing your grievances. A lot of people would hesitate to invite potential drama from the past into their own lives and homes.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@GloPro You are not horrible. Why put up with nonsense and potential instability when there are plenty of capable, stable, slightly older and better educated candidates.
I would not casually put the well being of my kids in another “kid’s” hands.

filmfann's avatar

Does this person believe in God? If she has faith, she can find a lot of help from the local church.

JLeslie's avatar

@jtvoar16 I want to chime in to say as others have that the girl should not feel hopeless or feel she has to turn to desperate measures. This situation is not completely dire, it is doable, she is 18, so she can legally work, she’s an adult. I also don’t really consider her a runaway unless she still has not competed high school. There are some great suggestions above for organizations that can help her, I hope she turns to one of them.

Please tell her to not trust people readily. Remind her if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

Stores like Target, Macy’s, Home Depot you just go into the store and they have computers you can use to fill our applications. Also, try places like Walgreens and grocery stores. Restaurants can be great money. I have friends who made $100—$200 a shift waiting tables in average restaurants, nothing super fancy. If she ran away without graduating high school if the school doesn’t know she left maybe she can still list it as a school she is attending. It’s summer time, so she can get her foot in the door and show she is a good employee.

Things like Merry Maids probably does not require a high school diploma.

CWOTUS's avatar

I hope you’re just writing a story, and not actually contemplating this.

The general options are illegal and dangerous: prostitution & drugs (selling, and probably using, too). There may be civil homeless shelters and religion-based shelters and retreats, and these should be considered carefully.

It’s not impossible to get a legitimate job, but it’s hard to find a “legitimate” place to stay, and exceptionally difficult with so little money. If the runaway doesn’t have friends or references, it’s also hard to get that legitimate job, too, and doubly difficult if the runaway hasn’t finished high school, or can’t document the fact. (The runaway should definitely obtain a certified copy of his or her own birth certificate and any other identity documents, because it will be frequently necessary to prove identification, date of birth and citizenship. Those documents need to be protected from others – who might want to steal them and use them for their own purposes – and guarded from the weather, too.)

One of the problems with being an 18-year-old runaway has to do with that age. Legally, an 18-year-old is an adult in the USA, but without education and employment credentials – and a job, income or savings – that adult is a babe in the woods. Since the “runaway” part of that indicates leaving home, then it also indicates that “employment” is one of the things being escaped from. That’s two big strikes against the runaway.

antimatter's avatar

Best advice from @Seek! But it’s a good thing to have a clear head. Don’t waste money on crap like drugs and booze. Find volunteer work at a shelter for food or a place to stay.

josie's avatar

See @GloPro

Is an eighteen year old really a runaway? That would have made me a runaway. And I didn’t run away. Seems to me a pretty good time to start making your way into the real world.

But using me as an example, I went to boot camp. The other option is college or tech school.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

I’m with Seek. Job Corp. They will do all the things she says. It has helped many young people out of bad situations and to get a foothold in the real world. Make that your first choice. Forget prostitution or porn. These fucking idiots here who have suggested that have no idea what they are talking about or they would never had suggested that to an eighteen year-old girl. It is not easy and it is not safe in any way.

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GloPro's avatar

Maybe she’s a bright 18 year old. We don’t have a lot of background info on her. Maybe drugs or porn aren’t anything to worry about.

Strauss's avatar

If she meets these criteria, she might be interested in Job Corps.

jca's avatar

I agree with @LuckyGuy and @GloPro. I would not hire someone who was running away from a bad situation. When it comes to my child and her safety and stability, that is my priority, not being a shelter for youth with issues.

Thammuz's avatar

1) I never suggested prostitution. It is illegal.
2) Porn is a legitimate and legal option.
3) I’m sorry I don’t have the same bigoted view of the sex industry, but i don’t like the feeling of a broomstick up my ass.

There’s lots of legitimate, law abiding and professional studios out there that make porn. Is it the most dignified job in the world? No. Neither is flipping burgers. Have i said that’s the only option she has? No. And it isn’t.

So yeah, i’m the piece of shit because I’m not deliberately witholding information from an adult who is legitimately in need.

Great. Nice to know that pertinent information has to pass through someone’s squick filters because somehow truth is offensive and you get called a piece of shit for telling it.

And i’m not even going to ask for your comment to be moderated, in fact, i ask the very opposite. Mods, if you read this: Leave it there. I want it to stand as a reference for Corvus’ approach to different opinions.

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LostInParadise's avatar

Perhaps a little off topic but an interesting case of the use of porn as an income source

Balmung's avatar

Which state?

josie's avatar

Worked for me at 18

Strauss's avatar

Just about anything. 18 is the age of majority in most if not all states.

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LuckyGuy's avatar

@jtvoar16 It has been 9 years since you asked this question.
What happened? She would be 27 now. We know a lot can happened in 9 years.
Is life much better?
Please update us if you can.

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