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Old 09-17-2007, 10:24 AM
21 posts, read 67,527 times
Reputation: 14


Hi... I'm a single, disabled Mom of a four year old. We became homeless last year due to abuse from an alcoholic relative...been on the run ever since. I'm looking to get off the East coast so that we don't have to continue to look over our shoulders, and plan to move out west.

I'm looking to research states with great disability resources... housing in particular. I have accessed some assistance through a brain injury association here in NJ, and would need similar help whereever I relocate to.

I would LOVE to be able to rent an apartment/trailer/bungalow on a farm; as horses are where my roots are...and would like the possibility of being able to help work off my rent. I also have a service dog, and one in training, so a yard is important.

I need an area that is safe, close to hospitals, shopping, schools, ect... but doesn't need to be in a busy area. The weather is a huge consideration as well...In addition to a brain injury, I have MS and humidity affects me profoundly (which is another reason I want to leave here). I would like someplace with mild or shorter winters. I have my daughter enrolled in a Head Start preschool program here in NJ, and would like to have the same type of situation for her elsewhere until she starts school next fall.

I can't exist on my disability payments ($500./mo), so I need to find other work to help sustain us. I have a very diverse background, and currently earn most of my salary training dogs (for pet and service), writing for various magazines, and motivational speaking through a service dog education organization I founded. In addition, I can give riding lessons --English/Western (used to ride professionally on a national level before my accident), can do data entry, have written books, can write articles, resumes, flyers, brochures, ect... am willing to learn new skills as well... I can do many things; and I'm determined to work hard and carve a good future out for my daughter...just need a new start in a new, safe home town to do so. Any areas that can support my skills would be key.

If anyone could steer me in the right direction, I'd really appreciate it! I'm open to other states as well...just NEED to get out of NJ and off the east coast!
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:42 AM
Location: So. Dak.
13,495 posts, read 35,489,289 times
Reputation: 15178
HI NJ, sorry to hear of all your problems, but you seem to have a lot of determination. As soon as you mentioned the "low humidity" it made me think that you should be looking in western So. Dak. I keep my weather site set on the pain index and the Rapid City area always has a very low one. Keep in mind though that it does get cold and snowy out there. The only thing is that the Hills area has days that warm up during the winter. That's not always true in eastern So. Dak.

Rapid City Weather Forecast and Conditions South Dakota.

If you check out this site, it will show you the pain index and temps and humidity for the next ten days. You can also click on "Averages" at the bottom of the ten day forecast. It will give you a pretty good idea of the weather out there.


This site will give you a lot of info about Rapid and you can browse around the surrounding area. The area towns are listed and will just continue giving you more options. There are also temp, wind, snowfall, etc charts on this page.

As far as a place to live or employment~Check out the Rapid City Journal or the Black Hills Pioneer or the Hill City Prevailer. Those are the only papers I know of in the area, but I'd guess there are more of them.

Wyoming may also be an option for you. Eastern Wyo. has a similar climate to the Hills area. Good luck and let us know what you've found.
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Old 09-17-2007, 05:45 PM
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 39,033,760 times
Reputation: 2147483647
Bravo! I live in Sheridan Wyoming and we need people with the drive and determination that you have. It's fantastic to hear that even with your drawbacks, your looking forward.

Unfortunately we do have a significant winter. But we also have a Mini Bus that will take you anyplace in town for $3.50.

Houseing is a drawback in that it's hard to find housing in this town. But jobs are prevelant.

The winters are normally 4 or 5 inches of snow, melts in a week. 4 or 5 inches of snow, melts in a week. 2 or 3 times, we'll have a ft of snow. Maybe once during the winter, we'll have over 2 ft. Last year we only had about 8 days that were below zero.

Jammie mentioned the Black Hills as being low humidity. That is right on. The Black Hills of South Dakota is a beautiful area but is starting to get a little costly. We are too. It's just when people realize that when the humidity is 25% and the temp is 5 degrees. It's still comfortable with a jacket. haha
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:07 AM
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
3,940 posts, read 13,931,434 times
Reputation: 2265

I live in Rapid City and I can understand what it must be like for someone with chronic pain, because my mother was in a car accident in 1995 and she gets worse every winter. That is why I am not sure if the Dakotas would be the best choice for someone with chronic pain.

Every winter, my mother hurts more and more and she has already had 4 surgeries on her back. She plans to move further south where it is less cold and better medical help is available. She wants to live in the Denver area. Rapid City has a great medical field and the doctors here are outstanding, but it is just too much for her.

I would suggest somewhere like Colorado, Utah, or the Desert Southwest if that would be something appropriate for you. It is BEAUTIFUL in the Black Hills, but temperatures can just be too extreme!

Best of Luck!
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:49 AM
21 posts, read 67,527 times
Reputation: 14
Hi, everyone;

Thank you so much for your replies and advice. I'm kind of stuck, though.... I don't have any savings, no money for housing, and I don't have a job that I can take anywhere and start right off the bat.

I guess what I'd need is a position that includes housing and start from there?

I keep trying different outlets... everthing from advertising my educational program ( The Official Canine and Abled Inc. Site) in different states, to trying to form dog training classes and other things to try to set myself up for a move. Unfortunately, the reality lies in me not having enough money for the end of the day, much less a move across country ;-)

I'm not giving up, though!!! There's got to be a safe place for me and my daughter to get away from abuse, not to have to look over our shoulders; and an audience for a message that I believe has the ability to help many.

Trying to focus on my Abilities instead of my disabilities at the moment. Thank you all for your advice, and keep it coming! Perhaps I'm missing something!

If anyone has a job offer or empty home that I could maybe work off through dog/horse training, web site design, graphic design, or something I could learn on the fly (I'm very motivated and love to learn!!!)...

After my accident, I relearned to read, write, walk and talk in order to create an award-winning educational program... I wrote a book about it and am in the process of writing my second one.... I've raised a baby on my own with a brain injury, MS, Lyme Disease and CFS... I am DRIVEN! I WANT to work...I"m a really HARD worker, I am dedicated, trustworthy, and have many talents; I just need a situation that will work with my challenges....any ideas would be appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:18 PM
Location: Missouri
6,045 posts, read 22,801,435 times
Reputation: 5145
NJ has some of the best programs for the disabled in the nation. NY is one of the few states that I know of, that has even better programs. But realistically, if you are forced to depend on government sponsored programs, you will always struggle.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:43 PM
Location: 32°19'03.7"N 106°43'55.9"W
8,446 posts, read 18,620,507 times
Reputation: 8052
Are you a single mother? In New Mexico, the benefits from the state of being a single mother are enormous, from housing to education, most everything is reduced or free (in the case of college). Our winters here are short, and it is very dry where I live.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:48 PM
21 posts, read 67,527 times
Reputation: 14

Christina; Thanks for your reply ;-) I have been struggling in NJ for over a year now...homeless and sick. There are programs, unfortunately, they are about impossible to access with a brain injury. I need an advocate to help with paperwork..they refuse to provide one for me. In any case, I must leave the state of NJ for safety reasons anyway. I'm tired of hiding, and tired of jumping at every noise. My daughter and I need to be away from abuse once and for all.

Mike; I've never looked into New Mexico. Yes, I am a single Mom... I will do some research and check it out, thank you!
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Old 09-19-2007, 10:13 PM
Location: Missouri
6,045 posts, read 22,801,435 times
Reputation: 5145
If it's any consolation, navigating the system to receive the benefits of these programs is difficult at best for people without brain injuries. They sure don't make it easy for the folks who really need help... best of luck to you.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:51 AM
21 posts, read 67,527 times
Reputation: 14
Hi, Christine;

It makes me feel a bit better hearing that others without brain injuries struggle with the system as well! I don't feel so inadequate now!

I DO have some potentially good news I spoke to a company yesterday in TN that had approached me at a show they saw me perform at a few years ago. Afterwards, we talked and they offered me a job...long story short, I was all set to move out there (van packed, trailer hooked up and all gassed and ready to go...) my mom fell and broke some ribs. I stayed behind to take care of her and they gave my job to someone else cause I couldn't commit to when I'd be able to get out there....

Anyhooooo, I was in touch with them yesterday, consulting on a different matter and the question came up as to whether I was still interested on coming out..apparently there's an opening again, and they'd love to have me ;-) We just have to figure out what I'll need to survive out there till my commissions kick in, and if they can meet my salary requirements that I'll need until that happens ;-) I'm excited, but still not getting my hopes up.

Thanks for all your help and input!
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