Making It in the Bay

Affordable Housing for Teachers in Palo Alto, Los Gatos

The idea of the brand new units is to provide teachers a way for them to live close to their schools

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In just a few months, an office building in Palo Alto will be torn down to make way for a new apartment complex for teachers.

This with the idea to provide teachers a way for them to live closer to their schools.

The brand new, 110 units, will be offered at below market rent to teachers in more than half a dozen school districts on the Peninsula. 

The complex will be built on a property on Grant Avenue, owned by Santa Clara County and  will help some teachers eliminate long commutes.

“There are teachers who commute an hour and a half to two hours each way a day to work because they can’t afford to work in the Palo Alto area,” said Teri Baldwin, president of the Palo Alto Educators Association. 

Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian initially proposed the project in 2018 and said that if teachers can live near their jobs, they can spend more time focusing on students and there's another benefit.

“If we can provide affordable housing for teachers and other school staff and make sure the districts can attract and retain great people,” said Simitian. “It's gonna be good for kids.”

In Los Gatos, four new units for teachers have just been built on town-owned land. Rent there will start at $1,600.

“These apartments are well below market rate and the teachers can live here seven years to save up a down payment to become home owners so when they move out a new group moves in,” said Sarah Chaffin of the organization Support Teacher Housing

She said the housing became a reality thanks to people donating services, such as roofing and using discarded materials from other construction projects.

The hope is these teacher housing projects will serve as a model for other Bay Area communities.

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