San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has proposed $44 million for a teacher housing project, following nearly two decades of related talk but no action from the city, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. It could be finished as early as 2022, though any sooner is unlikely.
The project, which already has a site and plans to find a developer, will include 130 to 150 rental units. It still needs the support of the school district and Board of Education. The district would own the land and lease it to the eventual developer, which would own the building.
The project was spurred in part by the Chronicle’s coverage of a local public high school math teacher’s struggle to find housing in the area affordable on her annual salary of $65,000.
A recent report by Apartment List found San Francisco to be the most unaffordable city in the U.S. for teachers, with Oakland and San Jose, CA, also in the top 10. But teachers’ struggle to find affordable housing isn't confined to California, as educators' wages struggle to keep pace with soaring rental and home prices nationwide.
Officials in cities across the U.S. are beginning to view housing as an incentive to prevent the outflow of teachers to more affordable areas.
In San Francisco, one program has raised around $35 million of the $310 million needed to build up to 100 new apartment units on land owned by the city's Unified School District, according to U.S. News and World Report. The apartments will rent at below-market rates to educators in the district, who could also receive rental housing allowances and down payment loans.
Another such project, near Aspen, CO, secured a $122 million school construction bond in November 2015 to reserve $15 million for subsidized teacher rental units. Still, the project would create only enough housing for 10% of teachers across three neighboring communities.
Other developments are completed or will soon be. In Asheville, NC, a 24-unit teacher-housing project is expected to open soon. And in Newark, NJ, the residential units are finished and occupied at the new $150 million, mixed-use Teachers Village, which was developed to house 6,000 teachers and administrators just outside of the city’s central business district.
Other cities have struggled to gain official approval for affordable teacher housing. One private landowner in San Jose, CA, proposed plans to build as many as 16 apartment units for teachers to help ease the shortage of affordable housing for area educators. City council members have pushed back on the idea, however, citing concerns that the site isn't suitable for residential development.