Monday, November 14, 2005

Majority, Maturity, and Homelessness

I was going to rip on this Minneapolis Star Tribune article, as it initially appeared to be another effort to redefine homelessness to make a Republican president look bad. The article is poorly-written, but it stumbles upon an important issue.

The age of legal majority, 18, usually falls during a student's senior year in high school. The individual can be a legal adult, but still lack a job, money, and the skills that adults are expected to have. One does not stop being a kid just because one reaches a milestone on the calendar.

There are some young people who are charged rent or kicked out of the house when they turn 18. The parents were probably not the most nurturing from ages zero to 17, but now they have no legal obligation to support their child.

I had a soldier in my Army Reserve unit who spent the last half of his senior year in housing for "vulnerable adults." His grandmother had kicked him out of the house after he reached chronological adulthood. He lived with his grandmother because his father was some sort of long-haul trucker, and his mother was, as he put it succinctly, "gone."

Acting as his squad leader two days per month, I am quite certain that I had more influence on him than his actual parents for approximately a year. Not that I had all (or even many) of the answers, but two days per month with a twenty-something sergeant was more adult leadership than he was getting elsewhere.

I don't know what to make of the Star Tribune story, but it did bring back this memory.


Blogger Derek Jensen said...

I once had a roommate during a summer in college who could have benefited from living in a home for at-risk adults.

November 15, 2005 11:57 AM  

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