November is homeless youth awareness month

There are about 1.6 million homeless teenagers in the United States.

Mid-Missouri organizations for the homeless tell KRCG we are not immune.

November is homeless youth awareness month.

KRCG's Facebook Crew talked with local people Wednesday to learn what they're doing to bring the issue to light.

The homeless youth program at the Rainbow House in Columbia provides shelter and help for teens living on the street.

"It's helped me out so much. Just getting a stable place to stay helps so much. It helped me get back on my feet and get a job, Member of the shelter Kerra Wieberg said. There's also people you can go to for support when you don't have any."

The Rainbow House's marketing director said the problem is so large, they have a waiting list for teens wanting to get into the shelter.

"We have eight beds in the transitional living program and we continue to have a waiting list. So we are always having teens trying to contact us, Rainbow House's Marketing Director Brenda Jackman said. So we are trying to serve them the best we can and the fastest we can."

It's nearly impossible to determine the exact number of homeless teens in Missouri.

The Columbia School District counted a little over 200 homeless students in the 2009-2010 school year.

The Youth Community Coalition coordinator told me that there could be many homeless teenagers wandering the streets in Mid-Missouri and no one would know about it, because it's very hard to keep track of homeless teens.

"It's a really hard thing to track because there's teens that just jump from couch to couch with their friends, and they're just some teens that fly under our radar. What we really need to do is really expand that radar to really find where those kids are and help them find where the services are so they have access to the resources for them, Youth Community Coalition Program Coordinator Ryan Worley said.

There are many activities planned next month to raise awareness of the situation. One of those would include a concert at the Missouri United Methodist Church.

The Rainbow House and the Youth Community Coalition hope people will become aware of this problem and help homeless teens whenever they can.

To kick off youth homeless awareness month, there will be a homeless youth panel at the Daniel Boone Regional Library on November 3rd.

If you would like to learn more about the events and how to help homeless teens out click here.