homeless youth

Housing Insecure Students Face an Uncertain Future

Rebecca Alturk would have graduated from UC Berkeley in May. As she crossed the stage to retrieve her diploma, cheered on by her mother and 6-year-old son, she might have reflected on her childhood living in motel rooms between evictions, or her rocky start at Cal, trying to balance raising an infant with a full course-load.

Slipping Through the Cracks

Homeless kids have many strange and unpleasant experiences—not least the status change when they hit puberty.

“They become criminalized,” says Colette Auerswald, M.S. ’89, a pediatrician and associate professor of community health and human development at Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “When kids develop pubic hair, they’re no longer considered vulnerable and charming children. They become pariahs, a problem. But they’re just as vulnerable, and their need for services and support is the same.”

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