Malaya McGant stands outside The Perch, a drop-in center for homeless youth in Vancouver. McGant lived in a tent by the Columbia River for a few months when she was 19 before getting help from Janus Youth Programs.

Malaya McGant’s story: ‘It all goes back to mental health’

At 19, Malaya McGant decided to leave her mother’s Clark County home for good. McGant had tried to connect with his Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Somali and Egyptian heritage, but this cultural exploration was not accepted by his mother, who tended to be strict and overprotective, according to McGant. “I would do things like practice spirituality …

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