Building Affordable Housing for Teachers
As concerns grow about access to affordable housing for many California residents, a spotlight has recently shone on building housing for teachers to enable them to live within the districts in which they teach. In California, 43 percent of districts report that beginning teachers earn less than 80% of the area median income, qualifying as low-income. Currently, one in ten California school districts are seeing teacher turnover rates higher than 25%, meaning that one in four teachers are forced to leave their jobs and students behind because they cannot afford to live in the same communities in which they work. U.C. Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation recently released a report that revealed that school districts in the state own over 75,000 acres of land that would be potentially suitable for housing.
In order to help schools retain teachers, California State Assembly Member Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) recently proposed AB 2295 to remove some of the hurdles school districts face in building housing. The bill would eliminate the need for plans to be approved by the Division of the State Architect, whose expertise is in schools, not housing. It would also establish the right of districts to build housing up to three stories on school property, assuming the project meets basic criteria.
For more information, read the Terner Center Report.