Number of young adults flocking to homeless shelters - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Number of young adults flocking to homeless shelters

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Homeless shelters, like the Lighthouse Shelter in Marion, can be a last lifeline to young adults. Homeless shelters, like the Lighthouse Shelter in Marion, can be a last lifeline to young adults.
"They don't like the rules. They usually burnt their bridges and we are usually their last stop," said Case Manager Jane James. "They don't like the rules. They usually burnt their bridges and we are usually their last stop," said Case Manager Jane James.
MARION, IL (KFVS) -

Homeless and still a teenager. That's the reality thousands of teens are facing in Illinois.

The numbers have been rising for years, according to new data.

Homeless shelters, like the Lighthouse Shelter in Marion, can be a last lifeline to young adults.

"We have seen an increase in the number of young people that are coming in," said Executive Director Sharon Atchison.

Since the Lighthouse Shelter opened in 2007, Atchison says the number of people walking through their doors has tripled.

Statewide, it's estimated that there are more than 25,000 people, ages ranging from 12 to 21 in the same situation.

It's a growing trend Atchison deals with every day.

"We really provide almost all of their needs," she said.

From beds to job placements, these young adults flock here hoping to find help.

Atchison and volunteers do whatever they can to help them get back on their feet.

Those who work closely with homeless youngsters say there's usually a trend for why this age group ends up in homeless shelters.

"They don't like the rules. They usually burnt their bridges and we are usually their last stop," said Case Manager Jane James.

James says the root of the problem is common.

"It starts with the family, it does," she said. "When they have such dysfunctional families that they see no hope for them because there is no hope in the family then we end up with them."

But the goal is always the same.

"We work with them and try to get them on a better track, one that will be more successful for them," she said.

In Illinois alone, more than 10,000 young adults called the National Runaway Safeline last year alone.

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