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Facing child poverty in L.A.

In this four-part series, columnist Steve Lopez visits the school, the neighborhood and the homes of children and their families living in motels and garages.

Hidden in L.A. suburbia, wrenching poverty preys on children and destroys dreams

Around Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, many homeless children live indoors rather than outside. And for one family, motel hopping is no temporary setback. It's life.

For the principal with the most homeless students in L.A., the reality of poverty is personal

Jose Razo is principal at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, the L.A. Unified campus that has more students classified as homeless than any other. For him, teaching these kids is personal, because years ago, he lived as so many of them do today.

Whether home is a van, a motel or a garage, L.A.’s suburban poor children learn to survive

Beyond the tree-shaded comforts of suburban living, L.A. residents by the thousands live in motels, vehicles, shelters and 400-square-foot garages. Teachers at Telfair Elementary School say families living in garages is more common now.

For children trapped in poverty, breaking free is getting harder

Schools such as Telfair Elementary in Pacoima lack resources and lag behind the district and state averages in student performance. But as educators work long hours to provide more support, students may find it harder to break free from poverty.

Some want to help kids trapped in poverty, while others question why parents had so many children

Steve Lopez shares reader responses following a series on child poverty around Telfair Elementary, the school with the most homeless students in L.A. Unified.

A note on this series: Facing child poverty in L.A. and our own conflicting emotions

Times columnist Steve Lopez shares how he and photographer Francine Orr reported on the community and the school where nearly a quarter of the students are classified as homeless.

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