LOS ANGELES — Inside her three-bedroom apartment, Ricshanda Davis is whipping up some lunch for her four children.
“All I could do was cry and thank god literally that I got this place,” she said.
Davis moved with her kids to the Equa Apartment Complex near La Puente in February. She’s a survivor of domestic violence.
“I thought I would never come home to my kids, so I eventually had to walk away,” she said.
Now, for the first time, they have a stable place they can call their own, and she says her kids couldn’t believe their eyes.
“When I finally opened the door, they were like, ‘This is ours?! This is ours?!’ They were running all through the house talking about whose room was what,” Davis explained.
“We went through being homeless, going from hotel to hotel. I tried different housing programs like Section 8, other low-incomes. I was on waiting lists. I was denied several times. I was staying at my brother’s house. Me and my kids were all in one bedroom,” she said.
Close to half of the 81 units are set aside for those like Davis, who experienced homelessness.
The six-story building in east Los Angeles County has a resort-style feel with a mix of one, two and three-bedroom apartments along with intensive case management and other mental and social wraparound services, including job placement.
There are also several common areas to encourage gatherings and a workout space and playground.
“There’s dignity in the design. We didn’t cut corners. The landscape is beautiful. The common areas are beautiful. They’re airy. They really promote a sense of community. We want people to feel like they belong, and this is their home,” said Marco Ramirez, vice president of Impact and Community Strategy for Linc Housing.
“They don’t want to be clients,” he said. “They want to be members of a community.”
Ramirez says he experienced homelessness himself when he was 7 and is proud to be part of the Linc Housing team that helped make this roughly $44 million project a reality.
“I see myself in the kids who play in this beautiful playground, and it’s almost a calling,” he said. “This is my way of giving back.”
And the name, Equa, is also a nod to the neighborhood.
“[It’s] a tribute to the equestrian heritage but then also our commitments to creating or contributing toward a more equitable society,” Ramirez said.
He says COVID-19 delayed the project due to supply chain issues, but he’s grateful for the support and funding from LA County and CVS.
“The public-private partnership that happened here is an example of what’s possible in other areas where communities are facing challenges to building these types of developments,” he said.
As for Davis and her family, on top of their refrigerator sits a welcome sign from the complex.
“Our welcome sign was the first thing we seen as we walked in, so my kids decided to write all their names on there and that was beautiful,” Davis said.
Because after overcoming so much, it’s a daily reminder that they are indeed... home.
Let Inside the Issues know your thoughts and watch Monday through Friday at 8 and 11 p.m. on Spectrum News 1.