Dear Annie: My ex-daughter-in-law's brother would have been sleeping on the streets for the past two years if it weren't for my husband. He's been paying rent for "Gary," who has not received any help from the other members of the family.
Gary has been unemployed for five years. He was living with my ex-daughter-in-law, her boyfriend and my granddaughter in the basement of their home. But when my ex-daughter-in-law broke up with her boyfriend, she moved into an apartment where Gary could not follow because he is a registered sex offender. This also makes it harder for him to find a job. I don't know the whole story, but some of it sounds like his ex-wife was looking for revenge.
My husband has driven Gary to many job interviews and has sought help from local agencies, with no luck. We have exhausted all avenues. At the moment, Gary collects cans for recycling and does odd jobs when they are available, but it's not enough to pay rent, so he uses the money for groceries.
My husband is retired and I am retiring at the end of the year. We cannot afford to keep paying Gary's rent, but we also don't want to abandon him. Do you know of any agencies that can help find him an affordable place to live? -- Worried in Illinois
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Dear Worried: It is difficult for ex-offenders of any kind to find employment, which then creates difficulty with living situations and increases the risk of recidivism. Sex offenders also have restrictions on where they can live, so this makes things doubly hard. You and your husband seem like caring and compassionate people. Here are a few resources that we hope can help:
National HIRE Network (hirenetwork.org) offers referrals to local resources for ex-offenders; Sex Offender Resource (sexoffenderresource.com) can steer you toward local state resources; Re-Entry Illinois (reentryillinois.net) might help with housing; and sexoffenderjobs.com is a blog that provides various suggestions, as well as offering emotional support.
Dear Annie: I feel compelled to give a different perspective about the letter from "Married to a Kvetch," who said her husband complains constantly about various aches and pains. You were right to recommend that he see his doctor.
In my late 40s, I began experiencing transient pain. Every day, the pain was in different places with different intensities. Several years later, I requested a test for rheumatoid arthritis, because there was a family history of the disease. The test came back negative.
I thought I was going crazy, and people assumed I was some kind of hypochondriac. Nobody could be in this much undiagnosed pain. Guess again. I changed insurance companies and needed another complete physical. At age 50, I had a positive test with full-blown RA. -- Damage Done
Dear Damage: So sorry it took so long for you to get the correct diagnosis, but it proves we are all our best medical advocates.
Annie's Snippet for St. Patrick's Day:
May the Irish hills caress you.
May her lakes and rivers bless you.
May the luck of the Irish enfold you.
May the blessings of St. Patrick behold you.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.