I spoke at the opening of the new Bogen Family Center, a 40-unit affordable housing facility for pregnant and parenting teens and their babies that St. Anne's Maternity Home opened up in our district on Occidental near Beverly. The child care center on the site will serve up to 100 children. The grand opening was not only attended by Cardinal Mahony and Supervisor Burke, but also by Joyce Walter, a board member who, sixty years ago, was born at St. Anne's, and by Elizabeth Mendez, a resident (with her small child) of the center today.
Elizabeth spoke to the assembled crowd about the experiences that led her to St. Anne's. She spent her childhood swinging from an abusive home to the vagaries of the foster care system. She got pregnant while living on the streets, and, seeing rock bottom, she found St. Anne's, got a job, enrolled in school and now works, goes to class, and takes care of her child. She said she couldn't do it with out St. Anne's. She's not alone: nearly half of all minors emancipated from the foster care system become homeless.
With $2.5 million committed from the Los Angeles Housing Department, the Center won funds from City of Industry Funds, Tax Credits, HUD Supportive Housing funds and substantial private donations for a total project cost of $10.8 million.Once again the city proved that by anteing up funds for affordable housing at the beginning of a project—by jumping into the pool first—we can help good projects leverage many times more than our initial contribution.