First Place - 2020 Feature
Homeless child Theo Schrager, 7, holds on to his mother Leah Naomi Gonzaless hand as they visit a friends tent at the Gilman Street underpass in Berkeley, California, on Friday, June 12, 2020.
Theo was born homeless and has spent his life in unstable housing situations. For nearly two years, Theo and his mother have been sleeping on the streets and in hotels after their RV was towed in July of 2018. Theo dreams of having a home one day where he can "bake chocolate cakes in an oven" and run around the house with a dog.
In 2019 Berkeleys official homeless count showed no families with children that were unsheltered in the city. But Berkeley officials know well that Theo bounces between the citys streets and hotels with his mother. Berkeley says they have tried several times to help the two find stable housing, without success.
Children like Theo who grow up on the streets face further troubles as they age, studies show. They have higher levels of emotional, behavioral and health problems, and are more likely to be separated from their families. They also have an increased risk of becoming homeless as adults.
Gabrielle Lurie / Select