Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

How to help son get off the street?

My son has been homeless for seven weeks, and even though we have offered to put him up in a hotel, he refuses. I am curious what other families have done to help their loved ones find safe housing. It is very frightening out on the street. Even so, the longer he is there, the more he refuses help.

I lived in my auto on the streets of America over two years from 2000 to 2002. I got so used to it that I knew Miami as it woud have been my own town. Your son may have just got used to living there. Nobody offered any help for me, but I sometimes gave food to other people on the street.

At the clubhouse I belong to we help people who are on the streets get housing now and then and as we have relationships with the various agencies and are involved with an organization of homeless services programs it doesn’t take very long to get them housing.
These clubhouses are an international thing, there are about 300 in the US and over a hundred world wide. It’s kind of like a drop in center but not, as it runs on a “work ordered day” concept where the members work voluntarily along side a small staff in running the day to day operations of the clubhouse…lunch is prepared, coffee is served, the paper work/data entry etc is conducted in the business office, maintenance and cleaning etc.

The only catch here is that one must be referred by a case worker/therapist or doctor to be eligible for membership. But many of our members were formerly homeless. My friend CP was homeless for most of his late 20’s/early 30’s while addicted to heroin and alcohol and he is now ten years sober and mostly recovered from Schizophrenia and hasn’t been homeless in decades. Recovery is possible with support and heck I at one point refused to believe I even had schizophrenia and refused to take meds for it…how my situation has turned around these days!

I wish I had some advise for you. My son has not gone down that road. I’m guessing that your son is not taking meds? Does he give you a reason for refusing a hotel or other help?

Once you get him off the street you might consider putting him in an assisted living center for the mentally ill. You’ll want to shop around, because the quality of these places varies.

I am sorry you were not able to get the help you needed during that two-year period in your life. If you don’t mind sharing, what made the difference for you to end homelessness?

So glad to hear that your situation has turned around… you are an inspiration to others!

There are two clubhouses in the city that we live in, but my son doesn’t want to have anything to do with organizations. He was traumatized when he was hospitalized five years ago, and doesn’t trust the system.

Our city is also big enough to have two shelters, but they require a TB test for anyone to stay there. After my son’s stay in the hospital, he is very adverse to any medical interventions. He would rather sleep on the street, and has been in fights and had his backpack stolen. It is really sad and frightening for me.

Thanks for your thoughtful response.

The last time he stayed at a hotel, he was making suicidal threats. I was concerned for him, and asked for a welfare check. He was deemed fit to be on the street, and has lost trust in me. So he is reluctant to let me help him now.

The board and care centers all require medication compliance… He is not there, yet. Maybe in the future…

I had been in America over ten years and then I decided to leave America. I shipped my auto to Belgium and then to Helsinki and so on. So I just decided to leave my street life in America. Sometimes it was a lot of fun. That’s about it.

During my son’s last hospital admission he thought I was trying to kill him. It’s hard as a parent to not have your child trust you. I feel for you. Have you read Dr. Xavier Amador’s book: - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on and you should find some long videos

It may take time but if it can help to rebuild some trust…

Wonderful news to report… Purchased a nice RV for my son, got it set up in a friendly, supportive trailer park close to his church and former residence, (for familiar surroundings) and he moved in two weeks ago. He is doing much better now. I am grateful to God for this miracle.

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That is awesome! I’m glad that your son is doing much better.

Thank you, BarbieBF. I wanted to send a follow-up, because I am hopeful about this working out for my son For a long time in the future. The last two living situations didn’t work out because his hearing is so impacted… Sounds from the apartment or room next door were amplified due to his illness, and he was having roommate problems as a result. I thought if he could live in a place, further away from others and the day-to-day noise, he might do better. Now he has community, but his neighbors are not quite as close. And if he needs to move, his RV is quite movable! Thank you to everyone that responded and offered their story and hope.

That’s fantastic – fingers and toes crossed it continues!

That is awesome, Praise God that he has us even when it gets so tough its overwhelming. I have considered an RV, when they are really sick they can have issues in an apartment setting and public places.

Yes, it continues to be working out really well. It is such a relief to know my son is off the street, and another bonus is that he has 24/7 access to the Internet again, so I hear from him much more regularly. Thank God for His goodness. The cost of the RV is well worth knowing my son has reliable shelter.

I am very glad you found a solution for your son. For all it’s worth, it might be the best solution to his problem. Thank you for sharing the update, I was already imagining how bad it is for you and your son…

I never thought about the mobile part of an rv, I thought of son getting kicked out of an apartment and rental houses. So really they can move it, if it becomes a problem they really can’t take his home. Very good idea. I had thought about putting one on my property. Love it.

would it be possible to get him into a group home…these are psychiatric hostels in the community…theyre long term tenancy…theyre good for psychiatric patients get themselves together, theres a lot more freedom than psychiatric hospitals, and also there are psych nurses and social workers overseeing things. You should check them out. Ask at your local psychiatric hospital.