Teachers, Can’t Afford Sky-High Urban Rent? Miami May Have A Solution: Live At School
Living the high life should not be an expectation when becoming a teacher, educators are not known for their high salaries and excellent benefits. Not surprisingly, in some cities, teachers cannot find somewhere affordable to live.
Luckily, some places are combating this problem with a rather intriguing solution. Officials in Miami have recently proposed that teachers who are not able to afford an apartment be allowed to live at school. The school district and county housing department have joined together to create a proposal focused around building apartments for teachers on school grounds. Together they aim to reduce the gap between teacher salaries and real estate costs.
How Does This Work?
The proposal suggests constructing a new middle school in one of the city’s neighborhoods that will include a floor of residential units. The school and apartments would be designed to prevent students and residents from potentially crossing paths during the day. The next development would include adding housing to properties that the school district already owns.
Teachers would get priority when applying for the housing units, specifically county teachers. If apartments were still available, they would become accessible to other district employees and, if there is still room, the general public.
Miami is not the only district to attempt to close the gap between housing costs and salaries, other districts in other states have begun taking similar steps. San Francisco was granted $80 million in 2013 to build housing for teachers constructed on land owned by the school districts. They also worked to provide mortgage subsidies for teachers. Los Angeles County created a complex that contained 66 affordable units for teachers, with a requirement that the renters must earn between 30% to 60% of the median income. Santa Clara County officials want to build teacher housing in an old public parking lot. All across the state of Colorado school officials are looking into building housing for teachers and other personnel.
What To Expect
Not all teachers are satisfied with the attempt to reduce costs; some are even offended by the suggestions. Most would rather have an increase in pay rather than affordable living. Older teachers believe that housing would only be suitable for young teachers or those that do not have families. One of their biggest concerns focuses on teacher-student relationships; if the family of a student lives in the same housing, those students might be tempted to reach out to the teachers outside of their working hours.
The overall goal of the housing project is to reduce the cost of living for teachers, especially for those who live in areas where the cost of living is continually increasing, and their salaries are not. For some teachers, a year’s rent can add up to almost half of their pay. Even teachers who have advanced far into their careers struggle with living costs. Miami is one of many school districts working towards a solution. In the upcoming years, many more districts aim to move forward with their proposals to support their teaching staff.