LONG BEACH — The Peninsula is one step, or dig, closer to reducing the region’s housing shortage.
Ground was broken on Oct. 30 at the site of a soon-to-be apartment complex for low-income Peninsula residents.
The Driftwood Point Apartments will feature 27 units at the intersection of 10th Street Northeast and Oregon Avenue North.
The new apartment complex is expected to be completed by the end of winter 2019.
“The goal is to have families moved in just in time to be celebrating Christmas,” said Rebecca Proudman, the project’s development coordinator.
The apartments will include one-, two- and three-bedroom units for families coming out of homelessness.
Long Beach City Council approved the project in November 2017.
“The apartments are geared toward families,” Proudman said.
“It’s a big deal,” said Erik Fagerland, in a December 2017 interview with the Observer. Fagerland is the Long Beach architect who designed the apartments,
“They’ve been struggling for years to get this off the ground,” Fagerland said at that time.
The project was started in 2008 but was put on hold due to the 2008 recession, Proudman said.
Multiple developers tried to get housing projects approved on the same block but failed. The Driftwood Point Apartments are expected to cost about $8 million.
The complex will include three apartment buildings and a community center with an office. A laundry room, kitchen and meeting space will also be included.
On-site help will connect residents to resources and assistance programs.
The project is being led by the Joint Pacific County Housing Authority, an organization which is focused on addressing the Peninsula’s need for affordable housing.
More than 42 percent of the county’s housing units are unoccupied full-time, according to the county’s Economic Development Council.
On the Peninsula, 51 percent (more than 5,400 of almost 10,000 units) of the housing units are unoccupied full-time.
These statistics reflect a large number of seasonal vacation dwellings near the seashore.
About 17 percent of the county’s residents live below the poverty line, according to the EDC. This figure includes about 270 homeless students on the Peninsula.
“It’s going to be a really positive change to that block,” Proudman said.
U.S. Bank, the Washington State Department of Commerce, Pacific County, and the Washington State Housing Financing Commission are also involved in the project.