The outpouring of love and support for 19-year-old Tristan after the deaths of his mother and grandmother, has been remarkable. Tristan has now been placed in a home after he was dropped off and left at a hospital emergency room.
Tristan’s story of a disabled young man with nowhere to live is touching hearts all over Houston and it's shedding light on a grim reality.
“It's hard to let go. It was very hard for us to see Patrick go,” says Hilda Bowen.
Hilda and her husband made the tough decision to send their son Patrick, who’s Autistic, to live in a group home now that he’s 20 years old, because if they don’t send him now while he’s number one on the waiting list, they may not get another chance.
“That's what parents have to face with kids with disabilities who grow up to be adults with disabilities, and they think they're going to be able to take care of them forever and they don't get them on that list," she said.
That list is the first thing Hilda thought of when she saw Tristan's story. Tristan is 19, non-verbal, autistic, and doesn’t have anywhere to go now that his grandmother and mother have died.
“It just broke my heart. I was in tears," Bowen said.
She knows getting an adult with disabilities into a group home isn’t easy. Hilda’s son Patrick was on the state's waiting list more than a decade since he was nine years old.
“We were on the list for 11 years," she said.
Dozens of parents commenting on Hilda's Facebook page are sharing similar stories.
There are tens of thousands of people statewide waiting for a Texas Health and Human Services residential program. So when should you sign up?
“As soon as they begin to have any concerns or suspect that there may be a disability there,” explains Wayne Young the CEO of Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD.
Young is encouraging you to contact his organization for help. Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD (713) 970-7000. ”If they reach out to us they don't have to understand the process. I understand it's very complex but that's what we're here for,” says Young.