LAKELAND, Fla. — The city of Lakeland is making a push for more affordable housing. 

A new plan would increase the amount of city-owned lots the city sells with an affordable housing designation.  

Errol Brooks, 74, moved into his affordable home in Lakeland Lincoln Square neighborhood in March. That is a change from the apartments across town where he used to live. 

"I feel very comfortable, very very comfortable. Very relaxed," Brooks said.  "(I was) basically living in apartments in bad drug environment areas."

Brooks said it was very hard to find something affordable and safe without moving far from his neighborhood. 

Until now. 

Lakeland housing officials are developing a new plan to sell vacant, city-owned lots to low income individuals wishing to build a home and to builders who'll construct homes that low-income families can afford to purchase.

"We're hoping that we can get 10 or so sold a year," said Teresa Maio, the city's community planning and housing manager. "Ultimately we'd like to have about 50 new homes generated from these parcels in the next 5 years." 

The city's community planning and housing manager said the new homes would likely cost about $150,000 or less. And there could be as many as 100 lots available. 

"The ultimate goal is to get more new units," Maio said. "More units within the city of Lakeland. The housing stock right now because of the real estate market is pretty tight with what's available and what's affordable."

Brooks said the city won't have a problem selling the new homes.

"They couldn't build enough," Brooks said. 

Some of the vacant lots could be for sell as soon as this fall. City staff is still finalizing the proposal and plans to bring it before the commission for a vote in October. 

According to the Community Planning and Housing Director's Office, the individual lots would be sold at assessed value. Once finalized and approved, city staff plan to advertise the lots online and through social media.