SF mayor announces plan to provide affordable housing for teachers

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced a new plan Wednesday to provide affordable housing for hundreds of teachers by the year 2020.

City leaders are trying to keep educators during the housing affordability crises.

One of the proposals to build housing for teachers was on the drawing board years ago, but faced opposition over the proposed site. Now, it's back as an option with the mayor saying investment in teachers is an investment in the success of the city.

Lindsay Donellan just bought her first place in San Francisco. She's a middle school speech therapist who is one of the lucky ones. With the average salary of at least $62,000, many teachers in the city are priced out of the market and the district is facing a shortage. "Living and working in the community in which you teach and make this investment is incredibly important to the fabric of the city," San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Richard Carranza said.

On Wednesday, the district and the mayor announced joint strategies they hope will provide housing for 500 teachers by the year 2020.

The plan includes building housing specifically for educators, renewing a program that offers down payment loans up to $20,000 that are forgiven if the teacher sticks around for at least 10 years. "Today we know that about 70 percent of our public school teachers live in the city, but we also know the housing crisis means that number could change dramatically very quickly," Lee said.

"It was kind of discouraging thinking I could never afford to be able to buy my own place in San Francisco," Donellan said.

Donellan was able to buy a one bedroom in a below market rate building after winning a housing lottery under an existing city program.

The initiatives announced Wednesday would be paid for through multiple sources and through proposition A.

If voters pass a $310 million affordable housing bond in November, some money is earmarked for educators. "To keep as many teachers here as possible," Lee said.
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