From old convents to rooms for rent, schools are desperately looking for affordable housing for staff

But the recent spike in inflation combined with the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that the 42-year-old special education assistant countless teachers School personnel across the United States are under immense pressure as they struggle to keep a roof over their heads.

Whiten is one of the lucky ones who was helped to secure affordable housing, but she feels sorry for those who aren’t so lucky.

“It’s sad to live like this because of inflation,” Whiten said. “And everything is going up except your salary. Your salary is not going up, so how can you survive?”

In a 2020 survey, the National Education Association found that 16% of educators have trouble paying their rent or mortgage. This is up from 12% before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The association stresses the need for more wage increases, along with more affordable housing options and other benefits.

Pandemic exacerbated difficult working conditions for educators and left school systems across the country I struggle to maintain my teaching talent Others are forced to be both employers and landlords.

Community steps up

A wealthy suburban resident in California’s Silicon Valley is responding to a request for help from his local school district by renting out an empty room in his home.

In late August, the Milpitas Unified School District near San Jose issued a notice asking community members to step up if they “want to rent a room in your home and share housing opportunities with educators at the Milpitas Unified School District.” Sent. .”

School officials told CNN that as of Tuesday, 66 residents in the city of about 75,000 had offered rooms to rent or spare homes to school officials.

The school district said it lost seven teachers from last school year “due to the cost of living in Santa Clara County and the (San Francisco) Bay Area”. Did.

This is a common burden felt by teachers and other school personnel across the country.On average, US monthly rents have nearly doubled over the past decade, down from about $700 a month in 2012. $1,300 in 2022The cost of living has skyrocketed to about six times what it was ten years ago.

“There were months when I was worried, ‘Will I be able to pay the rent this month?’” Whiten said.

Three years ago, her life changed dramatically. Whiten was informed that her application for the then-new housing complex, Norwood Learning Village, had been approved. The affordable housing development was a joint venture between the Los Angeles School District and her TSA Housing.

Sam Chan, Norwood Learning Village manager and teacher husband, said, “Many people find it almost unbelievable, not just for the price to get a unit, but for the quality of housing here. ‘ said. .

Teachers across America protested and won.Some lawmakers now accuse them of retaliating

A single mother with multiple sclerosis, Whiten now lives with her two children in a three-bedroom apartment. She’s paying about $1,300 a month, well below the average $3,000 a month for a similarly sized apartment in the same area. Perhaps the most rewarding thing for Whiten is that her commute has been cut from two hours each way to just 25 minutes, allowing her to spend more time with her family.

“I live where I am and I pay what I pay…that’s a blessing, that’s a blessing,” Whiten said.

Shanika Whiteten

Demand for these affordable apartments is skyrocketing. Norwood Learning has only 29 units in all in his village, but nearly 600 people are on the waitlist, Chan said. More than half of them work in the Los Angeles school system, he said.

“The need is really big,” he said.

The school district in Eagle County, Colorado, said it “plans to build a 37-unit housing project for educators using the middle school as collateral for loans.” colorado public radio.

Some teachers earn too much to qualify for help

On Hawaii’s paradise island resort of Maui, local lawmakers recently announced a spending of $15 million. dedicated teacher housing.
Are you short of teachers?It's complicated
In expensive Silicon Valley, the local Catholic parish has converted a former convent that once housed nuns into a place to house educators.According to local news outlets, “Rent is $1,000 a month (plus utilities included)…with furnished bedrooms and en-suite bathrooms, and communal living spaces including a kitchen and laundry room”. , reported that the following should be done An Interview with a Church Pastor to Consider.
But in Los Angeles, one of the big challenges of affordable housing initiatives is what most full-time teachers are earning. too qualifiedTeachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are Starting salary $56,107 per year. The state regulatory limit for affordable housing in places like Norwood Learning Village is his 60% of the median household income in Los Angeles, or $50,040 a year.

Many say that puts these teachers and slightly higher earners in a difficult middle class, too much to qualify for affordable housing and not enough to cover comfortable and convenient housing. The teacher claims

According to Whiten, most qualified people are teaching assistants like her. Or you work as a bus driver, cafeteria employee, or part of the cleaning staff. She worries that her teachers are being unfairly undervalued.

“The cost of living is very high, and even if it’s a teacher’s salary, if you’re single like me, you can’t afford to live here,” she said.

CNN’s Kathryn Jaeger contributed to this report.


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