One Silicon Valley school district wants local families to consider renting out spare rooms to teachers who may otherwise be priced out of the area.
The Milpitas Unified School District’s Board of Education in California approved a workforce housing resolution Aug. 23 that detailed how moderate-income people working for the district were finding it difficult to get places to rent close to their jobs, according to KRON-TV in San Francisco and a copy of the resolution provided to MarketWatch.
The district told parents via a school communication app that it had lost seven teachers in the past school year over cost-of-living issues, and requested that they rent excess space, according to KNTV, an NBC affiliate in the Bay Area.
“With now 52 responses to our call for Rooms for Rent for MUSD Educators in such a short time, this is evidence that our entire MUSD Team, which includes our teachers and classified support staff, is valued by our Milpitas community members, parents and caregivers,” District Superintendent Cheryl Jordan said in a statement to MarketWatch. “This is just one way we, as a district and as a community, are working to recruit, retain and support our amazing MUSD educators who may need assistance in finding a place to call home.”
Affordable workforce housing is a pressing issue in many cities across the country, with an ever-widening gap between income growth and housing costs.
For example, a teacher coming to the Milpitas Unified School District with a degree and 30 additional “semester units” — which is often the case, though teacher pay varies on experience and education, the president of the Milpitas Teachers Association told KRON-TV — would make about $68,000 annually in 2022. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Milpitas was $2,983 as of September, according to Zumper, a 15% increase from last year that could amount to more than half of a teacher’s take-home pay.
Because of that kind of disparity, other cities are also trying to come up with housing solutions specific to teachers; a church in nearby San Jose is converting its former convent into affordable housing for teachers, though tenants have to “commit to furthering the church’s mission to serve others,” KPIX-TV reported. Eagle County, Col. school officials also asked locals to open up rooms and other vacant spaces to teachers in July.
But the workforce housing issue expands beyond educators. Cities are also considering ways to shelter other frontline workers, like police officers and nurses, including by building new units.