New partnerships allow for innovative approaches to teacher housing in high-cost areas
- A San Francisco-based startup company called Landed is helping some California teachers achieve their goal of home ownership by offering to pay up to half the down payment of a home up to $120,000 per household in exchange for 25% of the gain or loss in value and repayment of the down payment portion when the house is sold, EdSource reports.
- The goal is to help teachers and other school district employees in districts engaged in this partnership afford to be able to live in the areas where they work, to aid in the recruitment and retention of teachers in areas with high housing costs and to sustain the funds through the repayment policies.
- Landed, which was founded in 2015, has so far established partnerships with 50 districts in California and has helped 48 school or district employees buy homes valued at a total of more than $26 million. It recently expanded the program to Denver and hopes to expand to other high-cost housing areas in the country in the future.
Though the true value of teachers' salaries in many areas has decreased over the past few years because of the rising costs of living, some teachers are hit harder than others because the cost of housing in their area is rising faster than their incomes. School districts are having a challenging time recruiting and retaining teachers in these areas because teachers often have to resort to long commutes to find housing within their price range.
Some school districts are finding ways to address this issue. In Dare County, NC, for example, the state credit union facilitated the building of an apartment complex for teachers with lower-than-average rent. San Francisco also offers a limited number of apartments for rent to teachers and the state of California now offers special incentives to encourage the creation of affordable teacher housing. Other programs, such as the Teacher Next Door program, offers ways to guide teachers to affordable home options.
In the past, some housing options for teachers have been accused of taking state and federal housing dollars away from low-income families. While the Landed program does require payback from teachers at some point to guarantee sustainability, it has the advantage of avoiding this criticism by using private dollars. However school districts choose to address this issue, partnerships with public or private organizations will likely be needed to guarantee success.