Living in the Shadows

Living in the Shadows: Eight Months Later

Jan 1, 2017
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

Last year, KRCU brought you the four part homeless youth series “Living in the Shadows.” At the time, two of Cape Girardeau counties biggest school districts had more than 400 identifiable homeless youth.

We shared the story of one of them. Her name was Joanne. She’s fifteen now, but nearly eight months ago her life was anything but normal.


“I was a little in a way kind of shocked [and] surprised,” Joanne said. “Like I’m going to live with my pastor? But at that moment I didn’t realize what kind of situation we are.”

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

  Sitting in an office at the Lutheran Family and Children's Services facility is Jessica Ruffin. She’s tall in stature, a little shy and has a smile that lights up a room. But behind that smile she hides the pain of a dysfunctional childhood. Growing up in Cape Girardeau she started couchsurfing when she was 8.


“I guess staying back and forth with my grandparents,” Ruffin said. “Even in our own home I guess what we called our home just not having utilities and water there. That was just basically homelessness to me.”


Living in the Shadows: Homeless Family Finds Stability Through Pastor

Apr 29, 2016
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

Members of the choir meet for their weekly rehearsal at this Cape Girardeau church. One by one, they’re filling the pews--waiting for their cue to sing and cut loose.

The choir’s director is “Natasha” - we’re changing her name for her protection. Vocally she’s a force of nature singing with power and conviction. But behind that voice is a single mom of three who is currently homeless. Her life now is a stark contrast from the nuclear family she was raised in.

Growing up she had both parents in the home. She went to church every day.

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

Southeast Missouri school districts like Cape Girardeau and Jackson are seeing a growing number of homeless youth. These teens are looking for a place to go, but shelters in the area are geared for adults--leaving many kids on their own. In the second story of a series, we focus on what social workers and volunteers are doing to help.

Living in the Shadows: How Schools Are Trying To Combat a Hidden Problem

Apr 15, 2016
Marissanne Lewis-Thompson/KRCU

In the last decade, the number of homeless students in Missouri has doubled in size. And in rural school districts the problem is well-hidden, leaving many schools to pick up the slack. In the first of a series “Living in the Shadows”, we look at how one of the largest school districts in southeast Missouri is dealing with the spike of homeless kids.