Marcus, after living in safe housing due to LAYC!
Thank you for supporting homeless youth, especially around this holiday season. Please enjoy a letter from a former homeless youth named Marcus:
“My name is Marcus, I'm 21 years old, and I'm pursuing my post-secondary education in Information Technology. I've lived in the DC area my whole life. My grandfather did a lot of development in Columbia Heights and I knew the Latin American Youth Center was big in the community.
I first became homeless when I was 17 because my mother and I weren’t getting along and she kicked me out of her house. I went to a local family preservation program after that to try and make things right, but I turned 18 and they couldn't keep me any longer because I was a legal adult. I continued to be homeless after that. One day my stepfather dropped me off in a shelter parking lot over the weekend when they were closed. With no other choice, I slept in the shelter bus for two days.
While walking around in Columbia Heights on day, I saw this house on 15th street and was curious to see if it was an LAYC program. They welcomed me in to the Street Outreach Program. I was put on the housing waiting list and eventually moved into the Safe Housing Program for a year.
My future goals are to be gainfully employed in the IT field, and to eventually do research and mold myself into becoming an entrepreneur, perhaps by starting my own business enterprise. I want to acquire a college degree, possibly majoring in business and minoring in technology or journalism because I love writing. I want to be able to pursue my hobbies in poetry, spoken word, and community activism. SOP and the Safe Housing program has given me a place to recuperate from being homeless for such a long time. It gave me the opportunity to find a career interest and begin my studies in IT work. It has also allowed me to get my mental health back on track, and now I get consistent mental health treatment. Being in the Safe Housing program cultured me in life skills and involved me in the LAYC community. It taught me to have fortitude and to be self-directed in my life.”
LAYC’s Street Outreach Program staff outreach in the DC community to find homeless or unstably-housed youth and connect them with housing, just like Marcus. A donation to this program means that homeless youth can be kept safe during the cold winter months--just $50 provides emergency shelter for youth like Marcus.