Homes for More

Something Else2

Rainbow House is located in Columbia to help with homeless children, teens and young adults. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

Rainbow House

Rainbow House’s family area for the children, teens and young adults to play, draw or hang out. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

 

COLUMBIA – Boone County is the leader in Mid-Missouri for homelessness, most of whom are sheltered.

Rainbow House is a shelter in Columbia for homeless children, teens and young adults. Mark Kirchhoff is the Homeless Youth Program coordinator at Rainbow House. The rate of homeless children, teens and young adults in Boone county ranges from 180 to 220, Kirchhoff said. The number is hard to identify because kids do not want to admit they are homeless for fear of foster care or other consequences, Kirchhoff continued.

Mark Kirchhoff

Mark Kirchhoff, the Homeless Youth Program coordinator, poses in front of the play area at Rainbow House in Columbia, Monday, March 13, 2017. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

Rainbow Houses offers a wide range of programs such as: crisis care, child advocacy, emergency shelter and homeless youth. The difference between the other programs and the program Mark coordinates is that the Homeless Youth Program is for the “transition” ages, 16 to 21 years old, Kirchhoff said.

The teens and young adults in the Homeless Youth Program stay at Rainbow House for about 18 months, Kirchhoff said.

“I love seeing that breakthrough moment,” Kirchhoff said.

He recalled a recent memory where a young woman was staying in the house and needed to find employment. She was not allowed to stay in the house unless she found employment. Kirchhoff said they were close to asking her to leave until she came up to him and said she had a job interview. Now Kirchhoff is helping her practice for her interview.

As Boone county leads in homelessness, there are shelters and volunteers happy to help them get back on their feet.

Ashley Tallent

Ashley Tallent, Homeless Youth Program resident, smiles during her shift at Rainbow House in Columbia, Monday, March 13, 2017. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

Play Time

A teen tries on a pink hat at Rainbow House in Columbia, Monday, March 13, 2017, while Ashley Tallent, 20, laughs. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

Detail Shot 2

A resident at Rainbow House in Columbia watches a movie on Monday, March 13, 2017. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

Piano

The piano located in Rainbow House encourages children, teens and young adults to actively learn, play and listen to music. (AP Elizabeth Quinn)

 

 

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