General Question

An8el's avatar

If you start helping someone out who is jobless - who then overstays their welcome even though they are somewhat helpful to you - what do you say to get them off your couch, when you know they will be homeless if you kick them out?

Asked by An8el (39points) March 14th, 2009

Am not in this situation now myself right now, but have been.

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10 Answers

Dog's avatar

Boundaries are vital.

You must set them in advance and stick by them. There is a book that might help you.

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe you set a limit up front: “You can crash on my couch for three days (a week, whatever), use my shower, use my newspaper and my phone and my computer to look for jobs. You can also look for agencies to help you and look for a place to stay after the <x> days. I’ll find you some clothes, and I’ll share my meals. Beyond that, you’re on your own.”

tinyfaery's avatar

Ask yourself how much you care for this person. Is it someone you like, but that is not worth sacrifice? If it were someone I loved, I would help and encourage them to get on with their lives. So they’ve had a set-back, that doesn’t mean they can’t try for something else. I’d help the person look for a job, maybe help with a resume. If all my help and encouragement was for naught, then, like Jeruba says, give the person a deadline and stick to it. But don’t forget to help!

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

It’s like that one SpongeBob episode! Sorry, I’m not very helpful…

marinelife's avatar

Definitely talk about it before they move in. “Here is what I can do to help you. (List what you are willing and able to do.) This will only work for me for 15 days (or whatever it is) so you need to have two goals: find a place to stay starting on the Xth and get a job so you have some income.”

Mr_M's avatar

I think you should say NOTHING. If you didn’t think of that possibility when you first went for the arrangement, well, you made your bed…..

Jack79's avatar

Since you are no longer in that situation, how did you get out?

I was in a similar situation many years ago. And I only had one room so it was a tight squeeze. The guy smoked cigars and snored, so that got tiring pretty fast. Fortunately he was not going to be homeless if I kicked him out, so after a couple of weeks of hints and suggestions, I gave him a deadline. He was not very happy, but he accepted that it had been longer than it should (3 months as opposed to “a couple of weeks”).

An8el's avatar

Two interesting variations on solutions that have worked in the past for me, but I wanted to hear more: after the person gets a job, charge them rent for room&board weekly. Then without them knowing you are going to do it, on the sly, save it up. Give it back to them with their walking papers after it gets to be enough for first and last for a room for rent with the news that you just gave them a free place to live. “Here – now go rent a place to live with this money you gave me that I saved up for you.”

The other one was to make them go out and get food stamps and public assistance, (if they couldn’t get to a job) and do the same as above. Make them pay you while sleeping on your couch, then give it back to them when you boot them out. It worked pretty well.

The time that didn’t work so well was when the guy had screwed up his life so badly that he lost his license to a DUI. We were lovers; I lived in a place where you had to have a car to work. So we hatched a plan where he “ran point” by moving to another state where the expensive DUI classes were not required; I helped him get his license back (took a year!) by helping him mail the fines off monthly (he was incapable of dealing with bureaucracy.) He supported me for awhile after he helped me move to where he established himself by first living in a car – after he go an apt. So I got something out of it for helping him. He was a borderline diabetic & had been abused as a kid. He did learn a little how to budget but then he would stop eating whenever I traveled & then get suicidal, so it was too crazy for him as well as me.

By and large, these people are really trying, but many of them are just are clueless. The mental health system fails them. The world is just a different place for them.

Instead of life getting better, everything is a dead end or a repeating pattern; they have not a clue how they feed into it. Everyone this guy met would meet would take advantage of him, (even if they weren’t a manipulator to start with) because he had guilt written all over his face. Was weird to watch it happen. He found himself another “sugar mama” thankfully. He’s a little better off now that he has his driver’s license back.

Please – more ideas!! I know I’m going to be in this situation again because I do like to help people out…and this is going to be more common problem as people become homeless in droves.

Jeruba's avatar

> Please – more ideas!! I know I’m going to be in this situation again

@An8el, are you asking for more ideas because you don’t think the suggestions already given are going to work? If you are planning on being a victim, they won’t.

An8el's avatar

Oh, these ideas that have been suggested work OK. But they are all under the heading of how to gracefully wash your hands of the distasteful homeless person who should go elsewhere for “professional help” and leave you alone.

There should be more ideas along this line – not just for my use, but as common knowledge for the use of many more people who are going to find themselves in this situation. No – I don’t plan on being a “victim.” I like to help out other people.

I’m sure others would also help others more personally if they had more templates about how this could be done more gracefully in a socially acceptable way. That’s why I see a need for it. I am just looking for more ideas of how people could effectively “sponsor” their disadvantaged friends in a constructive way rather than writing these people “off their list”.

So often, the “haves” tend to regard people who are unemployed as “too needy.” I’ve noticed there is an…ah…attitude problem that evolves when someone has made a differently lifestyle choice, even though the choice is temporary situation and is also a forced circumstance of “there but for fortune go you or I” sort of thing. People who are the “haves” get sort of…huffy…about continuing their relationship with people who have become disenfranchised into being the “have nots.” In a way, they are sort of, “envious” of the freedom of not having to pay rent, or something like that. Or suspicious about “those gypsies” or…something.

I’ve just had someone who makes three times the money I do get embarrassed and irritated at me because I did not want to shell out the bucks to buy food at a very, very expensive restaurant at a resort that we went to eat in a group of people. She said she was upset with me because I never have enough money to do those things, (and if I had money, I do not choose to spend it in this way) and so she felt I was obligating her to pay for me if she wanted me around as company in that situation. (Which I have not demanded, and I actually turned down the offer of a paid drink and a meal.) She complained later how she found herself not being comfortable with me declining to eat while she was eating, (although there was no requirement at the restaurant for each person to spend a certain amount and I offered a $3. tip at the end of the meal.) Although I offered the solution of me bowing out of accompanying her during such expensive activities in the future, I seem to have lost the friendship because of this, and I think this is quite unfortunate.

Does that answer your question?

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