STOCKTON (CBS13) — In the city of Stockton, on any given night, an estimated 140 veterans are forced to sleep on the streets.

On Thursday, the city celebrated a new housing community dedicated to cutting that number down.

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Liberty Gardens is a 74-unit housing community. From above, the brightly-colored building looks like any other massive apartment complex.

But inside, it’s much more. A man named Willie — and his twins — now call a three-bedroom unit at Liberty Gardens their home.

Willie served two tours in Afghanistan, and 90 days ago, he was sleeping on a friend’s couch. Today, he’s studying to be a nurse.

“It’s really worked out for me,” Willie said. “It works out for everyone.”

Travis Parker, an Air Force veteran, has settled into a one-bedroom unit at Liberty Gardens. He says it saved his life.

“I was on the verge of homelessness,” Parker said.

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Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln turned out for the special ceremony celebrating the end of the second phase of building.

The $27-million project is paid for with city, state and federal grants. It’s a bright spot in a city where crime rates are high and homicides are also ticking up.

“This is exactly the kind of housing we need,” Lincoln said.

As for rent? That sits between $388 to $500 a month. The community has a computer lab, on-site behavioral health service and a preschool facility in place.

The mayor hopes other cities will follow suit.

“I think other cities and counties should take a close look at what we’re doing with housing here in Stockton,” Lincoln said.

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Officials at Liberty Gardens say most applicants qualify for either Section 8 housing or veterans housing vouchers.

Adrienne Moore