The News-Leader has a story today about “Rare Breed”, a downtown-based organization focused on providing services for teens, in particular homeless teens. Please take a few minutes to learn more about their work and consider offering your support.
Living in the tunnels under Springfield at only 14 years old, Robbie Mortensen is just one of at least 200 teens in Springfield who have experienced homelessness.
Rare Breed is working hard to do something about that fact, but the program needs community support, especially financial, to continue that effort.
Rare Breed is where Robbie — now 18, employed and sharing an apartment with a friend — found the help he needed. He learned about the downtown drop-in center from another teen he met on the bus.
There, he could get out of the cold, eat something and talk with counselors who helped him work through his anger and eventually get his identification in order to get a job.
2009 HOMELESS YOUTH SURVEY
A 2009 survey by the Springfield Homeless Youth Subcommittee of 450 high risk and homeless youth, ages 11-22, at 20 locations found the following:
– 56 percent of youth homeless with family also reported being homeless alone.
– The average age of the first experience of being homeless alone was 15.
– An estimated 950-1,450 Greene County youth, ages 12-17, were homeless at least one night in 2009.
– More than 1 in 6 contemplated suicide in the preceding three months.
– Top five needs: education, transportation, clothing, job search skills, food
– Second five needs: health care, housing, dental, job support, life skills
– Surveyed youth identified top desires as: a youth-oriented multiservice center, transitional housing for pregnant and parenting youth