The real estate market in California is so competitive that few of the people needed to anchor communities, like firefighters and school teachers, can afford to live near where they work. That’s especially true in the Bay Area, where a school district in Mountain View recently announced a creative plan to help keep teachers around.
The estimated $56 million plan, approved in late March by the Whisman school district board, involves buying a 144-unit apartment building to be built in the South Bay city for teachers and education staff. The decision comes after the school district reinstated health benefits and raised teacher salaries by as much as 28% over the past five years, but couldn't stop teachers from leaving.
“We’ve had probably four or five resignations this year because they can’t afford to buy a home,” said school district Superintendent Ayindé Rudolph.
The raises also meant some teachers living in low-income housing no longer qualified as low-income and had to move.
“Teachers and other education professionals typically make too much money to qualify for traditional affordable housing,” said Mitch Mankin of Silicon Valley at Home, an affordable housing advocacy group. “But they also make too little to afford market rate housing prices in our crazy Bay Area housing market.”