At 17 years old, Marquan became homeless after his mother's substance abuse and gambling addictions hit rock bottom. After staying with friends, family, and even squatting in abandoned apartments, Marquan did a quick Google search on his phone and found Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth (NPHY). Marquan applied and was quickly accepted into NPHY's Independent Living Program. After moving into NPHY's housing, Marquan enrolled in the International School of Hospitality and obtained a certificate in Concierge Services. He was able to find a job, receive his driver's license, and become an advocate for homeless youth like himself. He is now working on furthering his education with hopes to one day work for a homeless youth organization like NPHY.
What is your role in the development of the Plan?
I was involved in the promotional side of the Plan. I helped with promotional aspects on radio and TV. I am also active in YAC (Young Adults in Charge) and as an ambassador for NPHY. I stepped in in any way that I could help.
Why is it important for you to join the Movement?
It’s important because I am a part of the Movement. I want to help. It’s important to me to not only receive help, but give something back to an organization that has helped me in so many ways. NPHY was the light at my darkest time.
What do you think is the most important element needed to end youth homelessness?
Housing, employment and mentors. For housing, it’s not in our hands to be self-sustainable. We need assistance. And we need mentors, successful people to understand how to get to where we want to go. We’ve been reliant on our parents for everything and if we’re shown how to discipline ourselves and have an example set in front of us, we can be just as successful.
What is your hope for youth homelessness?
We need to end it once and for all. No youth should be homeless. No person should be homeless. It is fixable as long as people understand the issues and then we can find solutions.