In 2018, reporter Gale Holland, photographer Christina House, and videographer Claire Hannah Collins spent time with young unhoused people in an encampment above the Hollywood Freeway. Their Hollywood’s Finest series for the Los Angeles Times tells the stories of three women, including Mckenzie Trahan, a young woman who has been in and out of foster care and juvenile hall since she was a tween. In this piece, we’re introduced to Mckenzie at six-and-a-half months pregnant, unhoused, and living with her boyfriend, and it follows her through the birth of her daughter, Ann, and the challenges the homelessness system throws at her.

As the months passed without a job or permanent housing, Mckenzie wasn’t feeling supported, and her relationship with PATH staff began to fray. A security guard reported that she had left Ann alone in their room; Mckenzie said a woman across the hall was watching her.

A PATH administrator complained that Ann had diaper rash and sniffles because Mckenzie was running around too much. Staff said Mckenzie dropped off the baby’s bottle crusted with milk; Mckenzie said she had lost the bottle brush that PATH gave her and was afraid to ask for a new one.

Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Cheri has been an editor at Longreads since 2014. She's currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area.