Rainbow House efforts heat up as temperatures drop

1 year 2 months 2 weeks ago January 12, 2016 Jan 12, 2016 Tuesday, January 12 2016 Tuesday, January 12, 2016 3:16:00 AM CST in News
By: Taylor Reid, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA- As the weather gets colder it’s important to stay bundled up. But for some people in Columbia, this isn’t a possibility.

Youth homelessness is an issue Rainbow House is looking to spread awareness.  

Rainbow House is a nonprofit organization that aims to keep children safe and support families in crisis through prevention, assessment, and intervention. 

Mark Kirchhoff is the Outreach Case Manager at Rainbow House and works to find adolescents, mainly between the ages of 16 and 17, who need a warm place to stay.

This particular age group is important because for a variety of homeless shelters throughout Columbia, the person is required to be 18 years old. This leaves out a hefty demographic of homeless residents in the community, and that is where Rainbow House steps in.

"We work with guidance counselors and youth in high schools," Kirchhoff said. "We want them to know that if you know someone in this situation you can tell them you've heard of Rainbow House and to give us a call."

As temperatures gradually fall the motivation to help as many kids as possible heats up.

"If they're on the streets in below freezing temperatures obviously there's a risk for death," Kirchhoff said. "So we do operate on maybe a more emergency level where if we need to bring them in we'll get them resources and try to get them stabilized at that point." 

Regardless of the weather conditions or season, Kirchoff said Rainbow House always tries to operate with urgent care. 

"There are a lot more services available for people who are 18 and older," Kirchoff said. 

Kirchhoff said one of his main priorities is to try and prevent at-risk youth from becoming homeless. He hopes to lower the numbers of homeless youth by speaking about prevention at city council meetings, schools and other public educational platforms.

Although Rainbow House does what it can to spread awareness and inform people of the services they offer, when it comes to finding youth who need assistance they largely have to wait for the kids to come to them.

Kirchhoff said one way to encourage youth to seek help if they need it is to lose the public stigma surrounding homelessness. 

"The idea is sometimes that it's somebody who doesn't want to follow the rules or maybe do drugs or are bad kids and don't want to work," Kirchhoff said. "I think we really need to change the idea, a paradigm shift of what we consider and what we know in that community."

A great way to break the stigma is to volunteer and spend time around the homeless community to gain a better understanding. 

"You're able to see they are kids just like you and I, that have been through in most cases a lot of trauma and are working through that and trying to survive," Kirchhoff said. 

Rainbow House is planning on expanding its outreach services to the community and error more on the prevention side of youth homelessness by working closely with schools and other resources to help kids in neeed. 

"We really want to try and work with youth before they need our full transitional living services," Kirchhoff said. 

Ultimately, Kirchhoff said communities must work together to combat youth homelessness by evaluating and assisting at-risk youth and referring those in need to facilities equipped to care for them.

 

 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri's Republican-led House has squashed an attempt by Democrats to expand Medicaid eligibility. Members... More >>
6 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:25:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Less than a week away from election day, and Columbia City Council candidates are still working to out... More >>
8 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:49:00 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Prosecutors say a Nigerian citizen living in St. Louis was part of a stolen identity fraud... More >>
11 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:35:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON - An area man was arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of stealing, trespassing and property damage. The Fulton... More >>
11 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:20:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
HOLTS SUMMIT - Research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows colon cancer rates have been steadily... More >>
11 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 6:15:00 PM CDT in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Two teenagers were arrested Wednesday and accused of ATV theft. According to a release, Callaway County... More >>
11 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 5:56:00 PM CDT in Coverage From Callaway
COLUMBIA - Former MU Interim Chancellor Hank Foley has accepted the position of president at the New York Institute of... More >>
12 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT in Top Stories
CALIFORNIA - Three people were arrested on drug charges Tuesday at the Moniteau County Jail. According to a release... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:26:00 PM CDT in News
LAKE OZARK - Police arrested a man Wednesday morning following a vehicle chase in which the suspect allegedly hit a... More >>
13 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 4:03:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - It only takes the swinging of a wrecking ball to reduce a historic building to rubble. ... More >>
14 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 3:11:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City's transit system, JEFFTRAN, wrapped up a series of six public meetings on Wednesday. JEFFTRAN... More >>
15 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 2:08:00 PM CDT in News
INDEPENDENCE (AP) — A suburban Kansas City police office is hospitalized after being injured in a confrontation after short car... More >>
15 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:56:10 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Lawmakers are advancing a proposal to ban Missouri cities and counties from using red-light cameras. ... More >>
16 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:48:48 PM CDT in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Chuck Berry fans will have their chance to pay their respects to the late rock 'n'... More >>
16 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:45:11 PM CDT in News
MONITEAU COUNTY - Police caught a Kansas City man who is accused of multiple burglaries across Missouri, Pennsylvania and Arkansas... More >>
16 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 1:33:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Only one state spends less per capita on its public defender system than Missouri: Mississippi. That could... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:27:00 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Missouri House has passed a proposal to spend roughly $242 million more than planned this... More >>
18 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 11:23:07 AM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Department of Social Services Acting Director Jennifer Tidball said Missouri still is giving money to Planned... More >>
20 hours ago March 29, 2017 Mar 29, 2017 Wednesday, March 29 2017 Wednesday, March 29, 2017 9:49:00 AM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 58°
6am 58°
7am 58°
8am 58°
9am 59°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

5:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
5:30a
Paid Program
6:00a
King of the Hill
6:30a
King of the Hill

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Superstore
7:30p
Powerless
8:00p
Chicago Med
9:00p
The Blacklist: Redemption
7:00p
Supernatural
8:00p
Riverdale
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld