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Helping loved ones help themselves in MA
July 28, 2011 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I have two family members in trouble in Massachusetts, and I want to talk to someone about it. I am not in Massachusetts, and I need help finding an the right "someone."

Two very close relatives are in serious straits due to a confluence of factors. Without going into too much detail, the first is in an emotionally abusive relationship that she feels she cannot leave b/c of a medical situation, and the second is on the brink of homelessness due to impulsivity that lead to a mountain of debt and a credit rating that landlords won't touch.

Crises have a nasty way of screwing with your head, and a combination of total hopelessness, denial, and bad living situations has them both stuck -- neither want to talk to anyone about it. It makes me so sad, because I know that there are resources out there, if only they would seek them! Anyway, I'd like to talk to someone about their situations -- someone who is familiar with the social/financial/medical services available Massachusetts (and perhaps with MA family law as well). Questions:

* I think I should be looking for social worker -- is that right? LCSW?
* How do I go about finding one? (I am not in MA.)
* Is there anything I should be sure to ask/look for?
* Can you recommend someone in Massachusetts?

Any advice would be most welcome. Throwaway email: help.in.mass@gmail.com

ps. Please no derails regarding my not being able to fix their problems for them; I know that already :( I just want to be able to provide a concrete counterexample to the "nothing can be done" refrain.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (13 answers total)
 
I'm not sure what a social worker will do in this case, but your first relative sounds like she needs access to a women's shelter.

http://www.massresources.org/shelters-family.html
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 11:55 AM on July 28, 2011


For the person on the verge of homelessness you could try HomeStart. They have a housing-loss prevention program.
posted by alms at 12:16 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do they know each other? Perhaps they should think about living together. One has the credit to secure the apartment, the other is a shoulder to lean during trying emotional times that come from leaving an abusive partner
posted by hermitosis at 12:35 PM on July 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is your first relative -- the one "in an emotionally abusive relationship that she feels she cannot leave b/c of a medical situation" -- receiving medical care? If she's not, here is a good source of low-cost/no-cost medical care and medication.

The site has a searchable database of free/low-cost/sliding-scale clinics nationwide, and many of these clinics offer mental health services, if that's what she needs. (The database includes info on each clinic's hours, location, cost, and services.)
posted by virago at 12:36 PM on July 28, 2011


The Commonwealth recently started a 211 service for just these types of things. From out of state you can call 1-877-211-MASS (6277). Not sure how well it works, but that's what it's there for.
posted by dchase at 12:50 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


If your relatives are anywhere in Western MA (west of Worcester), the woman in the abusive relationship should contact Safe Passage: http://www.safepass.org/
Hell, I'm sure her call would be taken wherever she lives. Their hotline: (413) 586-5066 or toll-free (888) 345-5282.
posted by chowflap at 1:58 PM on July 28, 2011


There's also Service Net (again, this is for Western MA). They might be able to help both of your relatives.
posted by chowflap at 2:00 PM on July 28, 2011


SAFELINK is the statewide hotline for survivors of domestic violence (877-785-2020) which is helpful for friends and family looking for support, resources, etc.
posted by boofidies at 2:55 PM on July 28, 2011


Also, does your family member who is in an abusive relationship receive medical care at a hospital or community health center regularly? Many healthcare centers have domestic violence advocates or programs that have good understanding of complicated medical cases where abuse is involved. They can help with appropriate resources, safety planning, free supportive counseling, etc.
posted by boofidies at 2:59 PM on July 28, 2011


For your first relative, in addition to the services previous posters have suggested, if she is disabled, perhaps the Massachusetts Aging and Disabilities Information Locator could be a resource; go to their website and go from there.

For your second relative, getting a room in a shared house usually doesn't require a stringent credit check. Have him or her consider a roommate and check out CraigsList. Mass. Legal Services might help them locate a lawyer who will do a free or low-cost bankruptcy. (There seem to be other services available from googling "Massachusetts legal aid.")

If either of your relatives has children or is elderly, there is much more available out there than for non-elderly, childless adults, who have to scramble for aid. If either IS elderly or has children the Department of Aging, Social Security (for the elderly) or TANF and food stamps (for a parent) are places to look.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:41 PM on July 28, 2011


Another resource for homelessness prevention is Somerville Homeless Coalition (HomeStart mentioned above is also a great resource). I worked at SHC about 10 years ago, at that time they had walk-in hours a few times a week for crisis management. Even if your relative is not based in Somerville, a call to the SHC should result in a few phone numbers for more appropriate agencies to contact. The big thing we tried to stress to people was that it was so important to reach out for help before getting evicted. There was so much more we could do for people to forestall eviction and try to get resources in place before homelessness.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 5:25 PM on July 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rosie's Place might be able to be helpful.
posted by posadnitsa at 4:03 AM on July 29, 2011


In addition to the previously-mentioned Mass Legal Services, Greater Boston Legal Services might be able to offer help.
posted by hypotheticole at 8:03 PM on July 31, 2011


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