Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Homeless son has come to my town...Is this his chance to get help?


I am not sure how to word this but here goes. My son said the police towed his van and it turned out they didn’t. He lost it I found it and “took” it.
The reason I took the van is that he has been panhandling his way all over the states for the past year. Now for the first time in a year, he is in my area of the country and I feel like this is his opportunity to get help for him like getting settled with some housing and a source of income, contact with someone who loves him and all the things that can make him hopefully heal. His plates are expired now anyway. I think if I give his van back he will leave the state immediately and we are back to square one. I don’t know if I am just being controlling or smart. In the meantime, he is sleeping in the streets instead of his van (I wish I could just give it back) but since he has been sleeping outside for the past week this is the first time he has ever talked about getting help. He cannot live with me right now. To me, it seems like his two options are get the van and leave or stay homeless and get help in this area.
What do you guys think? You have all been such a support to me and I know we all want to help our kids in anyway we can. Love to you all and I hope to hear from you.


It’s hopeful that he talked about getting help, so perhaps continue in that direction and contact local mental health services for treatment and emergency shelter.


I don’t know where you are or what services are available in your area but I would do whatever it takes to get him to services or get services to him. This seems like a real opportunity to try to steer him in the right direction. I’d hold off on giving him the van back until you try to get him involved with services somehow and see where that leads. Good luck.


I believe your strategy sounds smart, not controlling. I would definitely not give him back the van. Keep him homeless in your area and reach out to help him as much as possible. This could be your best chance at getting him well.

Sometimes we have to make decisions that we would never ever make if our children didn’t have this dreadful disease. Good luck.


What about??? I got the van back, but no one can drive it until it’s registered and insured… Is his driver’s license current? There’s another limit set by the law instead of by you.

In the mean time, keep the keys til all that’s done and try to be there for him. I like the idea of trying to keep him close and trying to get him help.

Tell him you want him to stay near and see him as often as you can for meals (out if he cannot visit the house) and other family activities. Relationships are irreplaceable, like our children are.


This is a dangerous time of the year to be homeless on the street. I would definitely contact some local shelters for help. I wouldn’t return the van if that would give him the means to get out of the area, especially if it’s not legal. That’s just asking for trouble. If need be you could try a 72-hour involuntary hold through the police but it’s up to you on going to that extreme.


Not sure about this one. Is it really his van, in his name, or is it yours? If it is his, he would have the basis for having you charged with theft.

I completely understand where this action is coming from, and I wouldn’t class it as theft, but the law might not see it that way.


Sometimes we do things that may not be legal to help our children or spouse and in this case, taking his van is appropriate in my opinion. If you can get him into a shelter, then to a clinic that can diagnose him those are good first steps.


I agree with you; if it’s his van, it’s his van.


I also understand why any person who loves someone with sz would use any situation to try to get treatment.


Right. Its completely understandable. But I would hate to have @Knows3939 dealing with a theft charge on top of everything else.


@vallpen I think that would only happen if son reported it was stolen and it doesn’t sound likely that he would do so or has done so since he thinks the police towed it.


I understand. There are lots of different circumstances, and what state your current relationship is with your son can also affect the decision. Would he get very angry if he found it you had done this?