Marquan Ellis was evicted from his home in Las Vegas, Nevada when he was 18.
His mother battled with a drug and gambling addiction while he stayed at his godmother’s house. But he couldn’t stay there forever.
He found his way to the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth where he enrolled in the independent living program.
He isn’t sure what he would have done if he hadn’t found that program: “I would have been on the street looking for someone to help, looking for my next meal, looking for my next shower, looking for my next place to sleep.”
Like Ellis, some 4.2 million young people experience unaccompanied homelessness in the course of a year, according to a new study from Chapin Hall a research center at the University of Chicago.
One in 30 teens experience some type of homelessness and it’s more common the older you get: one in 10 for young people aged 18 to 25. The study also found that African American youth are 82 percent more likely to experience homelessness.
Marquan was one of those young black men in Nevada, which has the highest rate of unsheltered youth in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This refers to people sleeping on the streets, in cars or in parks. Cities like San Francisco, Las Vegas and San Jose had high rates of unaccompanied youth that were unsheltered.