Shelter Observes Homeless Youth Month
COLUMBIA - A shelter for homeless teens called Sol House plans to raise local awareness about its clients with several events in the community this week. For the second year in a row, Sol House will recognize National Homeless Youth Awareness Month in Columbia. Since 2007, Sol House has offered housing and counseling to homeless teens aged 16-21. Sol House founder and licensed social worker Heather Windham believes awareness about homeless teens is crucial.
"During this time we want to educate the community that homeless youth do live in Boone county right here in our city," said Windham.
According to Windham, there are 2.8 millions homeless youth in the United States and half of them are teenagers aged 15 to 17. She says that Columbia Public Schools estimates there were 198 homeless youth in Columbia during the 2008-2009 school year.
She adds that youth are a very vulnerable population and hopes for the community to connect with the teens who need help.
Events kick off Thursday with a photography exhibit and youth panel discussion at Daniel Boone Regional Library. On Sunday there will be a showcase at Jesse Hall featuring a documentary about a local man's struggle as a homeless teen.