Home Hollywood Homeless and pregnant: The saga of a young woman in Hollywood

Homeless and pregnant: The saga of a young woman in Hollywood


Good morning and welcome to California Essence communication. it is Wednesday, July 13, 2022. I am a columnist Gustavo Arellano (So ​​I can have an opinion, gentle reader!), I write from Orange County.

i met my colleague Gale Hollandwho covers homelessness and poverty, only once: in Los Angeles Times Guild 2018 party. But I have always admired her sensitive, elegant, thorough coverage of one of the toughest issues facing Southern California.

All of Gale’s talents are in her latest project, a wide-ranging look at life at 26 Mackenzie TrahanHomeless since the age of 13, the Louisiana native was living in a camp off Highway 101 in Hollywood in 2018 when she found out she was pregnant.

Holland takes us through text and gripping photos of what’s next Christina’s Houseand video Claire Hannah Collins. Mackenzie’s daughter Ann is born. Try to quit drugs. Reckoning with past trauma and trying to reconcile with her mother who is also homeless. Find permanent housing. McKenzie fought fiercely with multiple nonprofits and government agencies ostensibly to help her, but which often turned out to be more enemies than friends.

I talked to Gail about her project. The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

There are many stories to tell about homeless people. What drew you to Mackenzie?

For about eight years, I’ve seen a lot of things that shocked me, especially in a rich country like ours. A 60-year-old man with rags wrapped around the wound on his leg. A woman with a hospital ID tape and EKG cord still hanging over her chest has been discharged from a hospital with no real plan or landing site. Saw a pregnant young woman in a tent by the highway – I think we’re better than that. Also, I grew up seeing what used to be called Hollywood runaways and was always curious who they were.

Then we met MacKenzie’s mother, who was also homeless, and got an up-close look at something I’d only ever read: Intergenerational homelessness, which seems to be a particular problem in Los Angeles, where you would Met so many people who have lived on the streets for many years. In some ways, though, I think we covered these women so deeply because they were charming, dynamic people, and they welcomed us. They want to be seen by the people of Los Angeles.

Two women walking in corridor with baby carriers

Mckenzie (right) and her mother Cat walk the hallways of Adventist Health White Memorial Hospital in Boyle Heights with baby Ann.

(Cristina House/Los Angeles Times)

How hard is it for someone like Mckenzie who wants to get out of the woods when you report on homelessness?

I think there are more helpful and skilled service providers in LA now who understand homelessness and what they need than when I first started. In the past, I thought that as a society we were content to have homeless people suffer in a cycle of foster-to-prison-to-street care, as long as they were confined to skid zones, declining Hollywood and other hotspots.

Of course, the problem now is an extreme housing shortage. It took Mckenzie a year and a half to buy an apartment – and now, she’s been in it for about as long. Getting homeless housing involves too much bureaucracy and not enough units.

And we don’t seem to have the resources we need to effectively deal with the meth epidemic. We are still experimenting with effective treatments for meth addiction. Users have been known to back off at a very high rate after treatment, but I’m not sure we know how to stop this.

After a wonderful four years with Mckenzie, her daughter and her mother, do you plan to keep in touch with them?

We are in touch with Mckenzie and her mother, Mama Cat, and don’t expect this to change. We want our readers to see the value and commitment of the people living in the tents we pass by every day, and the complex interrelationships we pay for the institutions that shape their lives. Covering this story is sometimes fun, sometimes heartbreaking, and very difficult…I think it’s an experience of what homelessness goes through every day.

Read about Mckenzie here, then check out the sidebar about her mother, her caseworkers, and Gail’s short article on how she made this story.

Now, Here’s what’s happening in California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without a subscription.

Los Angeles Stories

“Bad City” accuses dean of USC School of Medicine and bad behavior within The Times. Paul Pringle — another colleague I’ve only met once — has published a new book about the Trojan investigation he led, and the battle within the former regime he led in our newsroom.los angeles times

The biggest snubs and surprises from the 2022 Emmy nominations. My once delightful colleague Glenn Whipp no way Meeting in person, he chose TV’s biggest awards.los angeles times

Leaked sheriff’s department surveillance video shows inmates being beaten by deputies. How Sheriff Alex Villanueva blamed Proposition 47 for this and George Gascon?los angeles times

How ‘Tungsten Arm’ O’Doyle’s Tweet Became Embodied in Angel’s Failure. Poor Mike Trout and Shohei Otani were part of the funniest baseball game since Rollie Fingers’ strikeout against Johnny Bench in the 1972 World Series.sports

politics and government

Brewers need cans. California’s broken recycling system makes them hard to find. Maybe Gov. Gavin Newsom should spend more time on this issue than running ads in Florida?los angeles times

Newsom called criticism of his family vacation in Montana “wrong and unfair.” Gavin, two words: Baja California.los angeles times

MAGA preacher Sean Feucht gets millions from his Trump-loving flock. From the Bethel Church in Reading to the million-dollar home in the Coto de Caza, there is little doubt that Matthew 19:24 is rarely considered.Rolling Stones

Crime, Courts and Policing

‘Meet the Enemy’: Was the leader of the Mongolian motorcycle gang an FBI double agent? Wait, isn’t this a plot point for “Maya MC”?los angeles times

Two people wearing Mongolian motorcycle club vests

People wearing Mongolian Motorcycle Club vests walk across the newly opened Sixth Street Bridge in Los Angeles

(Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press)

A Cambodian-American police officer helps his community recover and move forward. Fresno Sheriff Danny Kim brings a night market to his community and others.los angeles times

Life Lessons from Divorce Attorney Laura Wasser. The so-called “Diso” queens, from Kim Kardashian to ex-clients of Johnny Depp, reflect the state of our union.New Yorker

Our Daily News Podcast

If you’re a fan of this newsletter, you’ll love The Times, our daily podcast, hosted every weekday by columnist Gustavo Arellano and reporters from our newsroom. Beyond the headlines. Download and listen on our app, subscribe to Apple Podcasts and follow Spotify.

health and environment

The surprising spread of the BA.5 subvariant illustrates why this California COVID wave is different. Meanwhile, a deadlier variant is spreading in India.los angeles times

Spring of discontent: Mexican berry pickers strike for bigger share of profits. Of course, all those little fruits come into your grocery store through a produce broker in the US.Labor Notes

Using Historical Maps to Understand the Sources of Soil Lead Contamination: The Santa Ana Case Study. An academic study led by researchers at the University of California, Irvine found damning results.Environmental Studies

California Culture

Resume History: Helen Hunter Jackson, American Indian advocate and author of “Ramona,” proved that one person can make a difference. Next time you’re wondering why there are so many streets called Ramona this or Alessandro that, this author is the reason – but you already know that, right?Coachella Valley Independence

The sisters started making the “He’s A 10 But” meme because they wanted realistic dating standards. A non-angry story from Huntington Beach!buzzing

free online games

Get our free daily crossword, sudoku, word search and arcade games at our Game Center at latimes.com/games.

california yearbook

Angel: Sunny, 78 years old. San Diego: Partly cloudy, 71. San Francisco: Cloudy, 67. San Jose: Cloudy and windy, 82. Fresno: Hot hot hot, 102. Sacramento: Not as hot, but more humid, 93.

at last

today’s California Memory from Debbie Bradford:

I grew up on a cattle ranch south of Hopland in Mendocino County. One summer day in 1963, my two brothers, my sister, and I went out in the morning to do our 4-5 hour day job, moving irrigation pipes through grazing fields. It was early, about 7:30, and I noticed that the sun was red. Red sun always means smoke in the air, which means wildfire somewhere. This always makes us very nervous; fire is a danger. We worry all day only to find out it’s smoke, which we’ve never had before.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share with us. (Please limit your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments to essentialcalifornia@latimes.com.

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