SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Startling numbers out this week show just how many teens are homeless in Springfield. Some 90 teens were as identified as homeless in the latest count, and those who work with at-risk teens everyday say hat number may not tell the whole story.
"I know the community is worried about poverty, the community is worried about crime, and all of these things contribute to our youth being homeless," said Samantha Sudduth of Rare Breed, an arm of the Kitchen, Inc., that provides services for homeless and at-risk youth.
Sudduth said the actual number of homeless youth may be three times higher than shown in the point-in-time count. The new statistics out in the homeless snapshot also show 3 out of every 4 homeless youth face abuse.
"No kid should have to face 'should i trade sex for a place to stay tonight?' or 'should i just go and stay on the streets, and it's going to be 20 degrees outside tonight'":58
Sudduth is the housing coordinator for Rare Breed. She said the majority of teens leave home, because being there is unsafe, but they find few options once on the streets. Rare Breed is designed to be a place that offers hope.
"When they come in here, this is their space to feel safe and have that time that they need for themselves before they're either back on the streets or going somewhere that's unsafe," Sudduth said.
There is an open house at the Rare Breed Youth Drop In Center Friday night during the 'First Friday Artwalk' downtown. It runs form 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. and is designed for the public to learn more about what the work they do as well as opportunities to get involved.