Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

My son is homeless and refuses treatment. He is also unable to rent an apartment. Should I buy him a place to live?


My son has been hospitalized over 20 times since he was 20 years of age. He has been in
and out of the courts numerous times. He cannot rent an apartment due to poor criminal
history. He receives his own SSDI/SSI. But is he always paranoid and runs to the woods
for solace. He needs structure, security, a stable environment. He is called "High Functioning"
according to the doctors. I am of the ability to buy him a place but everyone tells me
it is a very poor idea. Why? If he owns it, he wouldn’t harass the landlord constantly or run
away. It belongs to him. It’s killing me that his is on the streets.


i would say yes. if you can aford it definitely buy hi a place to live, if you think he’ll stay there. even if he does run off from time to time it won’t matter as he’s not missing any rent payments. personally i would involve him in choosing a place though as you don’t want to end up with him being too paranoid to stay there if he has no input into choosing the property. good luck.


Well, to be honest, I think most peoples reactions to this situation is that you are rewarding bad behaviour. Or to put it differently, you would be spoiling him in a way. But my head tells me it’s a semi-good idea. You must love your son and want the best for him. I understand that and it does seem like a plausible solution. Of course if you bought this home for him my fear would be that he would just sit home and drink or do drugs every day. Sorry. The reason I fear he does drugs or drinks is because almost every person who I ran into when I was in my active addiction, who had been in jail did drugs. The two seem to have a very strong relationship and seem to go hand-in-hand. Besides the fact that people with schizophrenia have a high rate of abusing drugs. AND…in the thousands of AA, CA, and NA meetings I’ve been to almost every person it seems had been in jail or prison. So that explains my assumption that he could be doing drugs. I may be wrong.
I agree he needs structure.But is he motivated enough to keep a house clean and keep himself clean? And to not just hole up inside his house and never go out?
But getting him his own place is a caring thing for a parent to do for their child. You want the best for him. But I hope you can afford losing a home IF he fails at living there.
But yeah, I was never on the streets but my dad toyed with the idea of buying me a trailer to live in when I was in my late twenties and struggling. I had been kicked out of my living situation and fired from several jobs and he was worried about me surviving. I declined which I always regretted and my dad later changed his mind about doing it when I brought it up later. One way of looking at it is that it is better for you and your son to TRY having him live in this home rather then die on the streets. Maybe it’s better to have your son potentially trash his new home or let it go to pot rather then live the extremely dangerous street life. Maybe I’m being too negative. Who knows? If you bought your son his own place he may actually do good there. It’s possible. Maybe he would shape up and be more responsible. But he has to get off of the streets.


I would buy a place and let him live in it for a while,setting ground rules,before giving him ownership of the place.


i am agreeing With 77nick77. my father was clean and sold he’s house my grandparents bought for him. he just spend it on drugs. he’s not any better now. if Your not right in the head it doesent matter, you will ruin the most out of ewrything anyway


It sounds like you might be able to first test him out in a house - by renting him something with specific ground rules for him to live there (e.g. take his medications as prescribed, go to therapy, etc., clean up after himself, etc.)

If this works for a year - then consider buying a place with the house in a trust so that eventually he would take ownership of it but it the house would be managed by conservators of the trust so he can’t just sell it and buy drugs, etc.


There must be conditions to your approval but yes buy him one. I agree with rental first though.


I think you should buy your son an apartment. It’s not nice and safe for him to wonder around the streets, or get hospitalized all the time. How does this boy or man feel after so many hospitalizations?


I have tried to rent places for him numerous times. He lasts a few months, maybe weeks. I lose money
and he runs away because he argues with neighbors, landlords, etc. He is very clean and neat. He bathes and cooks, shops, buys own necessities. It’s noncompliance to treatment and paranoia that is at issue. He has anosognosia perfected. Once,when I felt I couldn’t help anymore, he found an abandoned shack and lived there for 9 months till the police told him to leave because he was cooking outside. He also lives on pot, no alcahol, just pot.


It sounds like even if you buy a place that you’d run into problems with the neighbors again.

Perhaps you could find a rental that is on the edge of town where he has few neighbors or is far away from the neighbors - so he wouldn’t bother anyone.

But - the key issue really sounds like lack of treatment. In his current state - homeless - is he at all more open to the idea of any treatment?


When on the street he becomes worse mentally, more fearful, combative. An exparte is the only leverage I have and the last one didn’t do anything because there were no beds available at the state hospital so he was released even though the doctors said he needed to go there.


Yes - unfortunately the street is generally very stressful so people get worse, typically there.

Have you talked to your local NAMI office about other possible options than the state hospital?

It sounds like you may need to do the forced treatment at some point, but he has to get some longer term treatment to stabilize him so that he can get better enough where he can be in some sort of housing again.


What about furniture, oven, etc. Obviously your son can’t afford such items, and an empty apartment or house is a downer.

Perhaps slow additions of such items to the house or apartment might build up more of a warm “homelike” environment over time, and thus in turn create a more gradual moving in setting, along with a growing attachment to the house or apartment rather than it be seen and felt as nothing but a valueless one shot freebee.

Just a silly thought I guess.


Yes, I assume you are right. The reality is he will end up in court again someday. Hopefully they will force him into a program. He’s 36. What a waste. He was so talented.


first and foremost, get him stable on meds…!! everything will fall into place after that. I know that what I’m saying is very difficult. but not impossible. get him to a place in conversation that gets him to say he promises to take meds if you get him a place.? sorry, admin had much better ideas.


Would he still run into the woods? Would he be able to fix things as they break? Apartments have supers for maintenance.
Is an empty house really structure?

Can he transition to a group home?


I have done this. It is working out fairly well. I did it with the understanding that he still would need a lot of support from me. He is renting it from me, but knows that eventually it could be his, and he is taking good care of it.

It is close to where I work, and I am there several days a week to check on him. The neighbors have become aware of his disability and are fairly supportive.

I insisted he also have a case manager, and he has started working with one. I would like him to attend some kind of day program, but there is nothing that really appeals to him, so the case manager and I will be working on figuring out other ways to help him be more involved with the community.

It is not necessarily a good idea for him to own it at this time, but he feels invested in it, which is good.


Your son would not be able to own it because he has a criminal record. You would have to be co-owner, which means you are liable.
I have done this many times with my son–didnt work. My son has been homeless. He was more afraid of jail. He was noncompliant with meds, took all manner of drugs..until he was arrested for assault. Because he had a mental disorder, and every court system in 3 states knew who he was, they put him through mental health court. He was assigned a very good case manager, had to show up for med appointments---or he would be put in jail. His case manager helped him find a place to live, helped him get a food card, took him to some appointments, and set up a payee for him. So far, he is holding his own. If your son gets SSI/SSDI..I would have a payee set up for him so that his money doesnt become a source of friction between you two ( my experience ). He might be less likely to argue with a 3rd party. It would be great if you could have a trailer in your backyard-or one of those Tiny Homes with wheels if you have the finances to do so.
Because My son went through mental health court, the social security office will always demand a payee.
I know you dont want your son on the streets--but thats what brought my son around. He actually had to stay in a shelter that would let him in every night-but had to leave the next morning. He would attend day classes and make his appointments, then have to be back at the shelter at a certain time. We did pay for a hotel for about 3 months while waiting for an apt. During that period, he took his injections ( prolixin ) and walked pretty far to do all this. He got free food and groceries.
Sorry this was so long…I wish you luck with this…


+1 to what @SzAdmin said. I think that strikes the best balance between looking out for your son’s safety, yet giving him incentive to continue striving for recovery.



This post touches so close to home that I had to think about it for a while. I didn’t have the means to help the way you want to help your son. It wasn’t until K had a psychotic break that I could help him. He moved in with us after that, and we set ground rules and boundaries. One of them was to take his meds, that isn’t forcing him, but for him to make the decision that a stable home was important to his recovery; (versus living on the street). If you live in the same area and could keep a check on him regularly I would give it a try. But do set ground rules, meds, therapy, and help him learn to maintain the place.
I feel your pain, best of luck to you and your son.