California’s Child Poverty Hits Coastal Bay Area

When Michele Beserra looks at her 3-year-old granddaughter, she sees a warm, loving girl with light brown curls and a nurturing instinct—the kind of person she hopes will become a nurse or a community advocate.

But the 56-year-old Beserra becomes emotional when she thinks about her granddaughter’s new home: a tent on a plot of land in Watsonville, where the family will move this month because they can’t afford to rent anymore on her $400-a-month income. With her daughter and granddaughter, Beserra and her husband, who has been out of work for two years, plan to cook on a camp stove and bathe outdoors in a plastic pool on a ranch owned by a relative.

“We have stuff like we’re going camping. So that’s what we tell my beautiful little granddaughter when she asks us: ‘Nana, why do we have to move? Why?’” Beserra said, her voice cracking. “Because, I go, ‘we’re gonna go camping!’ It just breaks your heart when she asks why.”

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