Every night in Los Angeles County there are 8,500 families with children living on the streets. That number is up 29 percent from a year ago.
St. Anne's Beverly Terrace is trying to reverse that trend by providing affordable housing in LA's Westlake District. The $23 million housing development provides subsidized housing in a city plagued by homeless encampments.
Twenty-three-year-old Aleeyah Dukes is one of the many people being helped by one of the 39 apartments available for homeless families at Beverly Terrace.
"I'm happy," a beaming Dukes said as she sat in the kitchen of her apartment. "It's joy. I walk in, my son loves it."
For Dukes, that apartment is the first real home she's ever had. She and her son, Eidan, had been homeless for three years, bouncing from place to place.
Dukes grew up in foster care, but when she aged out and gave birth prematurely, she knew she had to build a better life for her son.
"I had him, he's 520 grams," Duke said, bringing her hands side-by-side to demonstrate just how small little Eidan was at the time of his birth. "I'm just like, 'We're gonna still fight because you came out and you wanted to fight early, so we're gonna go. I'm here for you every day.'"
Tenants like Dukes pay just 30 percent of their income for rent. They also have access to a childcare center and a rooftop garden, where they'll learn to grow healthy food. Two on-site caseworkers will also help them find a job or get into school.
Tony Weaver, St. Anne's Director of Supportive Housing, cautions that "this is just a small answer to a really big problem," but for people like Dukes, the help is invaluable.
"I know that I'm going to get to where I need to go," she said.