The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to authorize the first steps in a plan to build affordable student housing where the South Whittier Library once stood.

Supervisor Janice Hahn said the apartments would be dedicated to students at nearby Rio Hondo College.

“We are using all of the tools at our disposal to address the homelessness crisis at every level and we will not ignore the staggering number of local college students who are struggling with homelessness,” Hahn said. “This is a promising project that will provide local students with safe places to live and give them the opportunity to focus on their studies and their bright futures.”

LINC Housing Corporation, a local nonprofit developer, has proposed a three-story, 21,000-square-foot building with 27 affordable housing units for low-income youth aged 18-25. The project is envisioned to include a community room, shared outdoor spaces, a computer room and offices for supportive services to be provided by the nonprofit organization Jovenes.

“This project addresses the incredible needs many of our students have,” said Oscar Valladares, vice president of the Rio Hondo College Board of Trustees. “Rio Hondo College welcomes and values the leadership of our county leaders to be bold and serve everyone — including our community college students.”

The site at 14433 Leffingwell Road has been vacant since the library relocated in 2016.

The board gave authority for the Community Development Commission to negotiate with LINC under an agreement with an initial term of 180 days.

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