Miami-Dade County testing school-based teacher housing
- Miami-Dade County and Miami-Dade County Public Schools have proposed including affordable teacher housing in an upcoming $21 million expansion of Southside Elementary, which is located in downtown Miami's pricey Brickell neighborhood, according to the Miami Herald. The school district will pay for construction of classroom space, and the county will assist a private developer — with tax credits and low-interest loans — in building housing and other space.
- The Southside addition, which will serve as a pilot for other teacher-targeted affordable housing projects, will consist of a mid-rise building with one floor dedicated to residential units and another for parking, all underneath classroom space. The test building, which will be built on the site of a demolished public housing project, will be designed so that teacher residents and students cannot mix during school hours, with both students and residents being restricted to separate lobbies and elevators.
- If the Southside initiative works, the county plans to building a 300-unit apartment complex next to another city elementary school. Miami-Dade officials have secured financial commitments from local housing organizations for the second project. Miami teachers have one of the biggest pay-rent gaps in the country and spend as much as two-thirds of their income on housing.
Teachers in many other cities nationwide have a hard time finding affordable housing, and local governments have taken notice. San Francisco announced late last year that it would build 100 residential units for teachers and possibly offer rental subsidies and forgivable loans in an effort to keep 500 teachers living in the city, according to USA Today.
Other school districts in cities around the country have also built affordable teacher housing and have achieved 100% occupancy rates.
There has been some pushback from local residents who live near these proposed projects, however, particularly from those in urban or highly populated areas. A school district study in Mountain View, California, the tech haven that has been short on affordable housing for a quite some time, identified a potential site to build rental units for teachers and district staff. But local officials have been up against those opposed to high-density developments, according to Mountain View Voice. Critics of the plan argue that such a project would make traffic congestion worse and reduce the city's scant green space.
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