In plain sight: Homeless youth

1 year 1 month 6 days ago Friday, November 04 2016 Nov 4, 2016 Friday, November 04, 2016 12:49:00 AM UTC November 04, 2016 in Top Stories
By: Angie Bailey, KOMU 8 Anchor
loading

COLUMBIA — The homeless population across the U.S. and in Missouri are seeing a slight decline in numbers, but the same isn't true for mid-Missouri teenagers.

According to numbers collected in 2014, there have been small to staggering increases in the teenage homeless population within the area in just two years.

The most recent numbers reported by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education show an 85 percent increase in the number of homeless teenagers in Camdenton school district between 2012 and 2014. 

Jefferson City reported a 72 percent increase in teenagers without a home. Mexico reported numbers up 68 percent, Marshall up 42 percent and Columbia up 16 percent. Sedalia reported numbers up 9 percent.

Ronald is one of those teenagers now living homeless on the streets of Columbia. While attending high school in Columbia, he and his father got in a fist fight one night and he never returned home.

"I want someone to be proud of me. I ain't really had anyone proud of me," Ronald said. 

Another 2014 report by America's Alliance and the Center for Promise at Tufts University found a child who experienced homelessness had an 87 percent greater chance of dropping out of school than those who had a home to live in. 

Laine Young- Walker, the Director of Pediatric Psychiatry at the University of Missouri said being homeless causes teens to feel "less-than."

"To believe you're the one person that's homeless put's them in a place of less-than," Walker said."So they're already struggling with the normal, developmental teenage things and now they feel less-than because they don't even have a place to live."

One group of community members decided they had seen enough of teenage homelessness in the area and wanted to do something about it. 

Access4U formed in 2012 after a group of Columbia community leaders and citizens decided they wanted to provide housing, health care and mental services for teenagers struggling with homelessness.

The board has been quietly raising money to build a house for homeless students. It is now publicly asking for donations to raise the rest of the money needed to provide those kids with a place they can live and continue to thrive.

The plan is to build a home that will house 25 homeless teenagers. The land for the home has already been donated. It will sit just outside Columbia and will provide the types of help a high-schooler would ideally receive from a parent.

Services will include help with paperwork so they stay in school, scheduling and transportation to doctors' appointments so they can stay healthy and psychologists to talk to so they can deal with the emotional side of where they are.

Kimberly Shaw is the 13th Judicial Circuit Court judge and a member on the Access4U board, along with Laine Young- Walker.

"If we don't help them now, when they need it the most. Things don't look very good for their adult life," said Shaw.

She said, "To bring all of the services together to help them and give them some guidance. It's hard for an adult to go through it. I can't imagine a child going through it."

Access4U is striving to keep kids like Ronald on track.

"You gotta figure out which path you want to go down. Who's there to help you and who's not willing to help you. You've got to distance yourself from people not trying to help you," said Ronald.

To help support Access4U and their mission to provide housing and help for homeless teens in the area, you can donate to its GoFundMe account.

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Nearly four years ago to the day, local business owner Linda Bonebrake was diagnosed with severe sepsis at... More >>
15 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 6:47:00 PM UTC December 10, 2017 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY - Bird lovers got an up close look at birds typically seen in their backyards Sunday. It... More >>
16 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 5:36:00 PM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Museums around Columbia hosted docent led tours Sunday, spreading awareness about their exhibits and art collections. Docents are... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:59:00 PM UTC December 10, 2017 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - 2017 will mark the 140th Christmas the historic Maplewood House has seen from its home in south Columbia.... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:54:00 PM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - MU Police Department, MU Greek Life, local businesses and residents made Operation Steal Back Christmas a huge success.... More >>
18 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 3:31:00 PM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — After more than 20 years of providing resources and activities for home schooling, a southwest Missouri... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 11:38:00 AM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Jordan Geist, a role player known most for his scrappy style, scored 28 points Saturday night... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:39:00 AM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- Alyssa Schell joined the University of Missouri Police Department as a dispatcher in February, excited to be living out... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 9:28:00 AM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
CENTRALIA - A husband, wife and visiting grandchildren escaped a Saturday night house fire in Centralia, fire officials said. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 10 2017 Dec 10, 2017 Sunday, December 10, 2017 1:36:00 AM UTC December 10, 2017 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police in Kansas City, Missouri, say an 8-year-old boy has died after being hit by a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 11:35:21 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Students, staff and community members volunteered at University Village this morning to create a community garden, with the... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 9:41:00 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia provides plenty of Christmas experiences for families to enjoy, but Columbia Access Television (CAT) offered a unique... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:38:00 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas, the Patrick family watched news reports about the damage from their home... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:25:00 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA - With two years added to his contract, Mizzou football head coach Barry Odom will remain with the Tigers... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:15:00 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The first-degree murder trial of a 28-year-old Wisconsin man charged in the stabbing death of his Missouri... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 3:06:46 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA- As winter approaches, cold temperatures are making their way back to Columbia, with lows this week consistently below freezing.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 2:37:00 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
COLUMBIA – Treats Unleashed hosted “Milk and Cookies” Saturday to benefit Everything Greyt, a greyhound rescue organization. Dogs and... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 2:28:00 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police officers in St. Louis have come under gunfire for the second time in three days.... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, December 09 2017 Dec 9, 2017 Saturday, December 09, 2017 2:04:54 PM UTC December 09, 2017 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 33°
4am 33°
5am 32°
6am 31°
7am 33°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

3:30a
Early Today
4:00a
Early Today
4:30a
KOMU 8 News Today
3:30a
Paid Program
4:00a
Paid Program
4:30a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:01p
Better Late Than Never
7:00p
Penn & Teller: Fool Us
8:00p
Valor
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld