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Autism and Independent Living?


New Member
I'm new here, so I don't really know what I'm doing, sorry. I'm Ginger, I'm 26, and I was diagnosed when I was 9 with what we now call ASD. As such I've received minimal support through my life because of being considered "high functioning" even though I do definitely need some supports in place. There just doesn't seem to be any real middle ground. Either I get zero supports and end up in bad situations or I'd have to be in some sort of facility when I don't need constant monitoring and provide my own structure with routine. It's like just because I'm capable of minimally cooking for myself and bathing myself and can work part time, I'm not expected to need any additional help.

I was horrifically abused by my family when I was growing up and I moved out of state and cut contact when I was 22. I have PTSD because of this, and I sought therapy and got to a point where I could function almost as well as someone without this problem. I held my last job for 3 years (my manager had ADHD so she got me), but the roommates I was living with (who were letting me pay for utilities instead of rent because I couldn't afford full rent) had to move to a smaller place during covid so I had to look for a new place to go.

I accepted a Craigslist offer to move to Massachusetts with what was supposed to be another autistic roommate but she ended up not actually being autistic and being emotionally abusive. I put the rest of my money into the move here, where I was supposed to be able to easily find another job in walking distance (I can't drive) but nothing called back. She said she could drive me anywhere I needed to go, so I accepted a job out of town (a 10 minute drive) and after a week of work, my roommate exploded on me about how she wouldn't drive me at night anymore. I suddenly was spending most of my paycheck on ubers to and from work, especially when my roommate would suddenly at the last minute decide not to drive me to work and make me 30 minutes late. I think she was trying to make me lose my job because she wanted someone at home all day to watch her kid. Soon after this began happening, she started being very mean and changing rules without telling me and pretending like she hadn't offered to let me eat things in the house so I stopped eating at home for fear of upsetting her. She was suddenly giving me verbal lectures at least once a day. My bed was in the living room and she started leaving the kitchen light on at all times and running the ac/kitchen fan/bathroom fan 24/7 because she knew the constant background white noise was overstimulating at the different pitches and she kept the window open on top of this and then snapped at me that it wasn't cold in there. She began waking up at 6 in the morning to do dishes, which was something I'd done when awake prior to this. She'd watch drag race loudly while doing this. She started telling her kid to come into the living room to watch tv while I was sleeping in there. Then she took away my mattress and made me sleep on the couch.

A few mornings ago, I stood up for myself and she exploded. She hit every single trigger my parents had ever installed in me then gave me an hour to pack my stuff and leave. I am in a new state where I don't know anyone and I don't have the money to go anywhere. I used the last of my paycheck to get myself to work, still in my pajamas. A coworker said I can stay on her couch for a few days while I figure stuff out, but her landlord will check in soon and I won't be able to stay too long. I've been homeless before and I have a job, so it's just frustrating to be in this position where I have nowhere to go. All the shelters I've tried are for people fleeing immediate violence or women with children, so I keep being denied. I don't need a carer because I can care for myself, I just can't afford to live anywhere alone. Does anyone have any advice for what options someone who is low income and has been denied SSI in the past might have when they have no health insurance and require minimal supports? I had two jobs at one point in the past and ended up having a breakdown so I have no option other than to be low income because I'm in retail since it's about all I can handle (I'm a college drop out for theatre and am a writer but those aren't translatable skills at the moment). Going back to my family isn't an option because they almost killed me. Any advice is appreciated.


(I hope life gets much better soon.)

Thank you <3. Just trying to get by, you know. I have an autistic girlfriend, but of course she's in England and in no position to do anything to help except send me bits of money every now and then (though I try not to need this as much as possible).
Hello Ginger95
I am sorry I don't have any helpful suggestions. I hope you get the help you need.
Thank you. It honestly just helps to know that other people are out there. Talking to NTs about this stuff is frustrating because they don't seem to understand why this stuff is so difficult for me. <3
I’m not sure how these things work, but is there a way you can speak with a social worker?
I’m not sure how these things work, but is there a way you can speak with a social worker?
I used to have one but she stopped being available to me when I lost my insurance 5 years ago. I'm not sure how to go about getting a new one? That one was assigned to me after a hospitalization so I don't know how to go about finding one without an assignment
Hope you are okay. First don't blame yourself. Childcare is extremely expensive and people are always looking for cheap labor. Look and call churches, check craigslist for roommates, and sometimes people are looking for caretakers of mom and dad and willing to give you roof for that work. The other option is live out of your car until something opens up. Come back and let us know how you are doing. Many of us here have had bad parenting.
@tree seems helpful and correct in leading you to the links there. Prior to my marriage fifteen years ago, I lived alone for twenty years after graduating from college, and I was very low income (SSI) then, and had to reside in low income housing/apartments for instance thus to survive those years, until being able to get enough money for home down payments later, and homes completely paid for later.

Those low income housing places are not necessarily just for the disabled and elderly, but for those with very low to lower incomes, too. Monthly rent was often based on just a fraction (at most 30-33%) of the monthly income, for all the prior such many places I lived in, and most of the places I got in more smaller town/city areas, away from big cities, were still always within walking distance to stores, etc.

Depending on the State, housing locations near you that participate, the demand and vacancies for those complexes, who specifically qualifies for such, and the government agency that is involved, that will determine how quickly you could get a place, and if you would qualify. In my case, it was always easy to find such places very quickly as there were so many in whatever area I lived, and often vacancies.

I had just to find a list of the public low-income apartment housing complexes and to call them up, inquiring if I qualified, how to apply, and if any vacancies/waiting lists, citing an emergency often, which was the case, as my parents then were abusive as well, and would not care if I lived or died. Low income places then involved rent often between $100-200, as again, the monthly rent then was at most 33.3 % of the months income, but often less, as some units deducted utilities and thus reducing rent further.
Welcome to the forums.

The low income housing @1ForAll speaks of is a very good way to find a place to live for a small fraction
of your income. At least it is a very popular way to live in my state.
I really hope you can find some type of help like this, because I know how scary it can be when
you have no where to go.
If you're able bodied the low income housing is good.
If you have a disability though and can't live on your own this way, then there are problems.
I am trying to find answers to myself.
I’ve been living by myself since 2010. Sure I need to rely on some welfare benefits but it helps me get through the month and also get food. I also have two part time jobs that do help me get some more money. It wasn’t easy to get to this point but I did it with some help from a couple of social workers and organizations set up to help people. If you have a social caseworker I would suggest you talk to them about helping you find a place to live that suits your needs and finances. Section 8 is another option although you might have to deal with problematic neighbors but as long as they aren’t causing you to lose sleep and aren’t creating health issues that come from stress then you should be okay.

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