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Should I save my sister?

My younger sister is homeless. Should I help her get back on her feet?

It’s an awesome goal, says our elder. But you need to have a serious talk with her to see if it’s really what she wants.

Dear EWC

I have a rather large family, but no-one has a stable living situation except for me. I live in a small apartment with my girlfriend. For perspective, my dad lives in a trailer in the woods and has no money and a truck that breaks down all the time. My little sister is homeless, and she definitely is in the lower range of intelligence and has been taken advantage of by multiple guys. She’s living with crackheads right now. I am very good at saving money so I could potentially get a house and give her a place to live and some guidance, but I’m afraid she’ll just fall back into the same old habits and I’ll have tried/spent all of my money for nothing. Having such a large family, I would think that somebody other than myself could take responsibility, but it isn’t the case. My dad is perfectly willing to let my little sister be homeless and whore herself out however she wants as long as he doesn’t have to deal with her. And nobody else in my family has the financial means to provide for someone else. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

GrannyJ replies

Thank you for writing to EWC. I’ve given a lot of thought to what you’ve written in your letter and here are my conclusions.
It sounds to me like no one else in your circle of family and friends will step up and help your sister attain a better life. It’s possible that your offer to help her could be her only shot at a chance to get out the rut she is in. With your help, she could get a job and begin to support herself and not have to rely on “crackheads” and other such people.
However, is this what she wants to do? There is a lot of information not mentioned in your letter. For example, does your sister use drugs? If so, it will be very difficult for her to get a job that requires a drug screen. Can she get transportation to and from a job? You said she has a lower level of intelligence. Does she have basic skills necessary for employment? It’s one thing to help her financially for a short time while she gets on her feet, but a totally different story if she doesn’t get a job and begins to rely on you, long-term, for support, particularly if she is using drugs, and still associating with drug users. I’m pretty sure you will begin to regret your decision.

I think your plan requires a serious talk with your sister to see what she sincerely wants for her future. If she expresses to you a desire to get away from her current situation, get a job and begin supporting herself, then, by all means give it some serious thought. However, you and she should have a plan on which you both agree. For example, you will help her financially for “X” period of time, after which she will have to have a job and begin paying her own way. The problem with this, though, is if she still doesn’t have a job in the long term, will you be able to withdraw support and possibly cause her to be homeless again? If she has been living with you for a period of time, I’m afraid you would find it very hard to make her move out if she has no job and nowhere to go. That’s why I urge you to find out if your sister is sincerely willing to commit to such a plan and make it work.

Another thing is that your home will become her home, and whatever activities she might engage in will be right under your nose. Do you want “crackheads” coming to your home? Think, also about your girlfriend’s wishes. Will she be onboard with your plan? It’s her home, too, after all.
It’s possible it won’t work out. Your sister may be at a point in her life where she doesn’t have the maturity or life experience to make good choices, and you can’t really make her decisions for her. To fund her financially if she is making bad decisions is a form of enabling.
These are just some things for you to think about. I don’t know your sister, and it’s possible she may blossom with some financial and emotional support. That would be an awesome thing! But that has to be her goal, not yours, or else it’s just not going to work.
I hope my advice will be helpful. Please write again if you need more advice, or have any questions. Good luck, and I wish you and your sister all the best. Take care!

Letter #: 453278
Category: Family

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