LONG BEACH — An effort to bring more affordable housing to the Peninsula is moving forward, with plans to open 27 apartments for families with low incomes by the end of 2019.

The Long Beach City Council on Nov. 20 unanimously approved an application from the Joint Pacific County Housing Authority to build a 27-unit apartment complex at 10th Street North and Oregon Avenue.

“It’s a big deal,” said Erik Fagerland, the Long Beach architect who’s designing the Driftwood Point Apartments. “They’ve been struggling for years to get this off the ground.”

Several different developers have tried to get housing projects approved on the same block without success, he said. Part of the site was once the home of the 10th Street Garage. It was later turned into a community garden.

Designs for Driftwood Point feature two apartment buildings and a community center with an office, a laundry room, a kitchen and meeting space. Plans include greenery and a playground outside the buildings.

Fagerland said he’s designing the complex to fit the city of Long Beach’s early seashore theme.

Dan Freedman, the Vancouver-based development consultant for the project, said providing the much-needed low-income housing is expected to cost roughly $8 million. He said the lack of affordable housing has forced an increasing number of working families out of their homes.

Some are living in substandard housing, such as rundown mobile homes and RVs. Others have ended up sleeping on the street or couch surfing in the homes of friends and relatives, Freedman said.

The Ocean Beach School District is helping with the project. With the area’s shortage of affordable housing options, the consultant said, many students are having to move more often. Without a stable home, keeping up academically can be a struggle.

When complete, Freedman said, the apartments will provide affordable housing for Long Beach families with “very low incomes,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Federal data for 2017 shows a four-person household with an income of up to $29,700 would qualify for housing assistance in Pacific County.

“These are families that would otherwise be homeless,” Freedman said.

Help for residents who need to connect with resources and assistance will also be available on-site.

Construction is expected to start this summer. The plan is to have the apartments ready for residents by the end of 2019.

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