I am a 22-year-old from Capitol Heights, Md. I first started experiencing homelessness at the age of 19 while I was in school.
With the situation with my mother and me, I was unable to return back home, resulting in residing at Promise Place (a shelter in Capitol Heights) every time I came back from school.
I never really had an encounter with the police, but I do have some friends that got caught up with law enforcement and people that were in the shelter with me that were caught up also.
In some cases, the police officers were good to the youth and made sure they were safe, but in other cases, if a person had a record or was violent toward them, it would end in a different result.
In May 2018, I graduated college with my bachelor’s and I was expecting my daughter (who came in September of that year). I moved out of the program to a transitional housing for mothers and eventually got a place with the child’s father.
My advice to the youth who are experiencing homelessness is to never give up, don’t let what is happening to you define who you are and to just stay motivated as much as they can.
And if they encounter a police officer to just stay calm and tell them the truth. Who knows, the officer can help you cause they have a heart or they experienced it before.
Daejanae Day is trying to get into politics and make a difference in her community, starting with tackling homelessness in her area and beyond. For now she is a mom of an almost 1-year-old and in graduate school for public relations and management.