New report reveals circumstances facing Springfield's homeless teens

Published: Oct. 8, 2018 at 11:41 PM CDT
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A new report says dozens of kids live on the streets of Springfield, spending every single night looking for a safe place to sleep.

The Community Partnership of the Ozarks and Missouri State University counted the number of young people considered homeless now. Many of them regulars at Rare Breed, the city's only drop-in center for homeless kids. Karen Breit has their story.

The Ozarks Alliance - Homeless Youth Task Force's 2018 report on High Risk and Homeless Youth provides a deeper look into Teen Homelessness in Springfield.

"We see about 20 new faces every night, and for the year we've had about a thousand visits," said Director of Programs at Rare Breed, Michelle McCoy. "Some of those are duplicated kids returning, but the numbers when you really stop to look at them, they're staggering."

The findings are hard to hear.

According to the report, 67 youth are experiencing homelessness in the area on any given night. There are 31 kids reported to be sleeping outside or somewhere not meant for human habitation.

Of the youth surveyed, 64-percent reported having been homeless with a parent or care giver at some point in their lives. Fifty-two-percent said they had been abused by a relative or another person they lived with.

For 39-percent of Springfield's homeless youth that were surveyed, they reported in-state care was a part of their childhood.

Ben Collins was kicked out of his parent's house at the age of 18. He said, "I felt very alone. I was homeless in my hometown so I had friends, but most of my friends weren't in a position to help me. And it wasn't like this big huge sad thing, I just don't know... I have all of this time that I used to spend doing stuff at my house that I now don't have a house to do them in, so what am I supposed to do?

Approximately 150 youth ranging in age from 11 to 25 were surveyed for the report. They were asked about their basic demographics, housing history, access to basic needs, and mental and physical health. The findings that resulted, are alarming, and include realities like...

"The numbers are not something that we're happy about. However, it does provide a but it provide a good insight into what we see here on a daily basis. And, As an educational tool, it's awesome, the things we talk about and see here everyday, we now have numbers to support that, and for that purpose it's great."

To view the full report from this year and past reports, click on the link below: