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Thoughts on Very Generous Gift

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
My daughter has life-threatening food allergies. We have had horrible experiences with our school district. A special education attorney told me that the school district we our in, while noted for its academics, is so horrible for children with special needs, medical or educational, that I really need to move. The experiences with the school district have been brutal, ghastly, and highly illegal.

In any event, I went to a friend's house this afternoon. I told her the situation, and she said you have to move. She asked me our rental budget. I told her, and explained that we live in apartments owed by a church that operates the housing as a non-profit, providing housing for immigrants, single-parents, etc., at below-market rents. We probably pay $150 below market. Anyway, my friend suggested a neighboring town because it had a stellar reputation, both for academics and for special needs children. She showed me some possible apartments on Craigslist. She then told me she is looking at apartments $150-200 outside our budget because she said her and her husband don't mind kicking in a couple a hundred a month toward our rent.

I'm a single mom. I don't receive child support or any possibiliity of it. I have no family in the area. I receive social security disability. I make enough that I, thankfully, can provide basics for my children, and get extras through a lot of resourcefulness.

It just seems like so much to give someone. They are extremely wealthy. They live in a house that is practically a mansion, their daughters attend very costly private day schools, etc.

She said it makes them feel good to help me because they feel like their help has a beneficial impact.

I'm just blown out of the water. The stress of the brutal harassment by the school has been enormous. The thought of facing that year-after-year with the cost being my daughter could die by the school's mishandling, refusal to follow medical instructions, etc. scares me.

What do you think? Suggestions?
post #2 of 18
If you actually believe that this is a gift form God (which really sounds like it) and your sure that your friends won't "change their minds" after six months of moving, I would take it. I understand it feels "weird" to take something that huge especially from non-family. But really just swallow it and take the blessing that God and your amazing friends are trying to give you!!!
If it's really as bad as you say it is w/ the school, this shouldn't be that hard of a step to take. God bless you!!!!
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you Knotty. Before my friend made that incredible offer, I told her that last day I read on a special ed. attorneys' blog how horrible our SD was for special needs and how he gets constant calls about them. I told her I felt like getting that info and then the recommendation from the attorney this morning was God telling us something. I know she wouldn't change her mind. It does feel like it's through God. It's hard for me to turn down something that could be so much better for my children.
post #4 of 18
I think, given the situation and the spirit in which the gift is being offered, I might take it too. I wouldn't take it for a lessor situation, but the one you're describing sounds pretty icktastic.
post #5 of 18
I would worry that they might stop giving the money every month for whatever reason, b/c then you will be in a lease you can't get out of. If you are sure you could find a way to make up for the difference, then I guess I could see taking them up on the offer. Of, if they were able to give the the $ for say, an entire year upfront, that would make me feel more comfortable in that situation (from a financial aspect, at least, the mixing money with friends things can be tricky).
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
I would worry that they might stop giving the money every month for whatever reason, b/c then you will be in a lease you can't get out of. If you are sure you could find a way to make up for the difference, then I guess I could see taking them up on the offer. Of, if they were able to give the the $ for say, an entire year upfront, that would make me feel more comfortable in that situation (from a financial aspect, at least, the mixing money with friends things can be tricky).
This is exactly what I was thinking. And I guess you would have to re-evaluate each year before your renew the lease, b/c what if they decide to un-commit, would you have to move back to your old town and school district? Is there potential for your income to increase so that eventually you can pay the full rent yourself? If your friend's financial situation changes and they can't meet their commitment then do you have a way of covering the increased rent? That's $1800-$2400 /year your friend is committing to.
post #7 of 18
I would thank her profusely for her very very generous offer but then try to find something within your budget. You never know what can happen down the line - they may run into their own difficulties in the future that are unforeseen at this time and then you would be in a financial bind.

That said, I have read your other posts about the allergy issue and you need to get your daughter out of that situation as quickly as possible, even if it means doing something outside our comfort zone and then figuring out the rest later.
post #8 of 18
I’m sorry you are in the situation you are in, but this really sounds like a recipe for disaster. Even if you were family, I’d say that it’s not a good idea, let alone just friends.

How long are they going to be willing to fork over the money every month? Indefinitely? (Probably not, so what is your long-range plan?) At what point do they finally say, “Enough” and cut you off? What if you have a disagreement? What if they just send the money late because they forgot? As a pp mentioned, what happens if they run into financial difficulty… you will be the very first “bill” that they cut out of their budget.

This is a really bad idea on a financial level and also on a personal relationship level. This “gift” is going to cause so many stresses, that I can almost guarantee that the relationship will suffer. I think that it’s a wonderful and generous offer. I would appreciate it as such and count her as a true friend that you care enough about to NOT take her up on her offer.

As a side note, if your dd has severe allergies and you are at home on disability, is homeschooling an option at all? That would solve all the problems.
post #9 of 18
What a tempting offer! I must say that I agree that it would scare me too.

When people give money, they (sometimes) feel able to dictate your behavior.

If they are giving you money, and then see you spending "your money" on a bottle of wine, are they going to be disapproving?

Can you tell her that you would gladly accept any gift from her, anytime. However, committing to a year lease that you can't afford by yourself, just puts you outside of your comfort zone. Throw in some anecdote (sp?) about your Dad telling you to always make sure you take care of your own stability/future or something, maybe, to diffuse the situation...

good luck mama!
post #10 of 18
What about homeschooling and staying where you are at?

I understand they are trying to help you out, but for how long? Just a year to gt you on your feet? your income won't change, so your budget can't either. When they're done helping you'll have to move back and be in the same situation you're in now.

Check out the homeschooling forum here for help! You may find yourself saving money in the long run.
post #11 of 18
and also, would their help be considered additional income that could negatively effect whatever other help you are receiving based upon your income?
post #12 of 18
The experiences with the school district have been brutal, ghastly, and highly illegal.

Okay this is off topic to your question, but do you have taken the school district to mediation or hearing over your concerns? Is this why your were talking to the special education attorney? Regardless of if you homeschool, move or stay in your current district they shouldn't be able to treat students that poorly. Those check and balances are there so they can't take advantage of students and get away with it.

As for the offer of assitance on your rent I would be reluctant. I think if they were helping you with something enriching and useful that you could live without if they flaked out on you I would be fine with it (music or dance lessons or something of that ilk) You could explain to your child beforehand that it might not last forever and that would be okay. This however is a offer that could easily put you at risk for eviction or other problems if it goes sour.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I’m sorry you are in the situation you are in, but this really sounds like a recipe for disaster. Even if you were family, I’d say that it’s not a good idea, let alone just friends.

How long are they going to be willing to fork over the money every month? Indefinitely? (Probably not, so what is your long-range plan?) At what point do they finally say, “Enough” and cut you off? What if you have a disagreement? What if they just send the money late because they forgot? As a pp mentioned, what happens if they run into financial difficulty… you will be the very first “bill” that they cut out of their budget.

This is a really bad idea on a financial level and also on a personal relationship level. This “gift” is going to cause so many stresses, that I can almost guarantee that the relationship will suffer. I think that it’s a wonderful and generous offer. I would appreciate it as such and count her as a true friend that you care enough about to NOT take her up on her offer.

As a side note, if your dd has severe allergies and you are at home on disability, is homeschooling an option at all? That would solve all the problems.



Ditto. I would only consider it if I were to be homeless with the kids and there was a written agreement.


I too hope you are suing the school/district.


And I third the idea of homeschooling. I homeschool my three special needs kids, including one with ANA allergies. The homeschooling had been a life and sanity saver!
post #14 of 18
Where I live, you can pay tuition if you want your children to go the public schools in another town/district. Is that a possibility? It might be less costly/more easily done on your own than moving. Or, you could investigate and if it's likely, ask your friend if they would consider helping with the tuition for a year which would help you to save for next year, etc?

On the one hand, I agree that taking a monthly payment from this couple is fraught with problems--no matter how great of friends they are, their own circumstances could change unexpectedly (job loss, death in the family, etc) and you could be in a tough situation. Too many unknowns.

On the other hand--you need help, and these kind people are offering to help you--it's tough to turn that down.

Best wishes to you and your children and I hope everything works out for you.
post #15 of 18
That is a tough situation. I wonder if you could find a place and bring your situation up with the landlord - who might be willing to forego part of the usual payment in exchange for a longer term lease - say 2-3 years instead of 1? Then maybe she'd only be paying an extra $75/month and the landlord would lower the rent? I'm thinking of the woman who asked for a lower monthly payment and they ended up gifting her 2 months rent. You just never know what might happen. The landlord might have special needs kids in the same district.

Is there anything you might be able to offer her in exchange? Like if you baked, maybe you could offer her a loaf a week or a month? I had a friend who helped another friend out by buying her homemade soap at a really good price and it eased the awkwardness of the whole situation.
post #16 of 18
Having been on the giving side of a few situations like this, I genuinely love to help people. My husband and I have often chosen to give annonymously, either through our church or by literally sneaking around at night to drop off much needed clothes or food on a friend's porch. We've always been concerned that the giving would change our relationship.

The rental market is really difficult right now for landlords too. Rents are down and there are lots of vacant apartments. You might be able to find a good deal on a new place or perhaps find a landlord willing to reduce rent $100-200 a month in exchange for some work. For example, we're looking for a new renter for an apartment and we're willing to consider up to $300 a month in trade (housecleaning, yardwork or childcare).

I don't know that I would say no to the gift, but I think it would be best for it to be a temporary situation. For example, if your friends could help for one year, could you find a way to make more money by next year?

Could you increase your income by learning new skills or starting a small business? Do you need financial counseling to help get out of debt or learn how to manage your money?

I am guessing your friends would rather help you become self-sufficient than keep writing a check. This has been true for us, anyway, when we've felt like it was right to support a family for a season. We're always looking to see if there is something we can do that is a "hand up" instead of a "hand out"...
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbrinton View Post
Having been on the giving side of a few situations like this, I genuinely love to help people. My husband and I have often chosen to give annonymously, either through our church or by literally sneaking around at night to drop off much needed clothes or food on a friend's porch. We've always been concerned that the giving would change our relationship.

The rental market is really difficult right now for landlords too. Rents are down and there are lots of vacant apartments. You might be able to find a good deal on a new place or perhaps find a landlord willing to reduce rent $100-200 a month in exchange for some work. For example, we're looking for a new renter for an apartment and we're willing to consider up to $300 a month in trade (housecleaning, yardwork or childcare).

I don't know that I would say no to the gift, but I think it would be best for it to be a temporary situation. For example, if your friends could help for one year, could you find a way to make more money by next year?

Could you increase your income by learning new skills or starting a small business? Do you need financial counseling to help get out of debt or learn how to manage your money?

I am guessing your friends would rather help you become self-sufficient than keep writing a check. This has been true for us, anyway, when we've felt like it was right to support a family for a season. We're always looking to see if there is something we can do that is a "hand up" instead of a "hand out"...
That's a good idea. You mentioned disability checks, are you able to clean? Or maybe you could make a few meals a week for them (at their home, with their ingredients). Fix holes in kids' clothing? Crochet a purse?

I'd definitely worry about the future. Jobs go away in a second and it might be hard to find another that pays as well. What if you have a fight? What if she hadn't discussed it with her husband and he doesn't agree? What if they move? There are so many things that could happen that could then leave you without the means to make your rent.
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you, everyone, for your insightful replies. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and concerns about the gift my friend proposes.

I'm in a holding pattern. My friend asked me about it again, and I told her I was going to ask my landlord if they would go month-to-month when our lease ended, but I wanted to take my time and make an informed decision.

I did get a disability rights organization that has agreed to take legal action to force the school to comply with disability law. The actions will not result in any compensation for our family. But they are pretty confident that the school's actions are so egregious that they can get orders forcing them to comply with federal law.
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