DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been hosting students from other countries for several years now. They come through a formal service, and everything is set up according to a particular schedule and financial plan. This year, we had a problem, though, because one of the students came without the proper amount of money she needs for the month that she would be staying with me. From the first day, she asked me to lend her money, saying that her money would be coming in soon. "Something happened," she explained, so now she has to wait a week or so. I contacted the agency, which assured me that she was supposed to have all of her ducks in a row.
So now I am stuck paying for this young lady out of my own pocket, which just isn't the way that this whole thing works. She is a young woman from another country. I can't just let her starve. But I need to figure this out. Can you help me? -- Border Patrol, New York City
DEAR BORDER PATROL: Go higher up the food chain with the agency that sent this young lady to you. Get someone on the phone who can talk through the protocols that you have in order. Review whatever contracts you use for this hosting work that you have been doing. Explain the young lady's situation and request that the agency wire money either directly to you or to her (with your knowledge) so that she has enough money to take care of herself. If the agency refuses and you are unwilling or unable to take on her debt, ask to make arrangements to send her home early. You can put your foot down, even though it will be difficult.