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New City Services to Provide Housing Assistance to San Francisco Unified School District Educators

Press Release

Today, SFUSD Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh, Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, and United Educators of San Francisco President Lita Blanc, alongside civic, nonprofit and labor organization leaders of Homeownership SF which includes Asian Inc, Balance, Mission Economic Development Agency, San Francisco Housing Development Corporation, and the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, Eviction Defense Collaborative (EDC), the Justice and Diversity Center of the BAR Association of San Francisco announced joint investments and services to provide housing assistance, eviction defense, and increase access to affordable housing opportunities for San Francisco educators. These new services are the first of many steps in a long-term strategy developed by representatives of each organization to help ensure SFUSD educators can live, work and thrive in San Francisco.

California and states across the nation are grappling with a teacher shortage due to retirements, resignations and a steep decline in people choosing teaching as a career. The housing affordability crisis--particularly in the Bay Area--has exacerbated the district’s ability to recruit and retain educators, including teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, deans, nurses, social workers and librarians.

"California continues to lag other states in funding schools, making a nationwide teacher shortage even harder. It's getting especially tough to draw and keep employees here in San Francisco, where housing prices are sky-high. We are working together to improve housing access, affordability and stability for our educators,” said Interim Superintendent Myong Leigh.

Median rent for a one bedroom apartment in San Francisco exceeds $3,400 per month, which is more than 60% of an average teacher’s monthly salary. A survey conducted by the United Educators of San Francisco in December 2015 found that 59 percent of teachers are worried that the high cost of living could prevent them from continuing to work in the district. For more on the housing survey, visit www.uesf.org/housing-survey.

“We hear all the time from teachers and paraprofessionals about their evictions and struggle to make rent,” said UESF President Lita Blanc. “Before we relied on a patchwork of services throughout the city to get help, but now we have  a single, dedicated provider for services that will be a tremendous benefit to educators during their time of need.”

Homeownership SF and its member housing counseling agencies will organize regular workshops to assist educators in accessing both Below Market Rate (BMR) rental and homeownership opportunities.  The Eviction Defense Collaborative and Justice and Diversity Center partnership will offer educators a legal advice hotline and consultations at school sites, rental and other types of financial assistance, and legal representation.

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, UESF, SFUSD and several community housing organizations formed a working group in 2014 to develop shared solutions to the housing affordability crisis for educators. The working group has developed a multipronged strategy including new construction of housing for educators and, in the interim, has invested funds to develop resources that can help educators stay in their homes, access legal support and connect with local housing assistance programs through a coalition of nonprofit partners, city agencies, and teachers union.

“We cannot afford to stand by as teachers in the Bay Area struggle to make ends meet,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “We have brought together the right partners and have put a long-term plan in place aimed to increase housing stability for San Francisco educators and help retain the talent we have and recruit the next generation of teachers.”

The housing clinics for educators will take place on the first Thursday of the month from 4-7:30pm. The next clinic will be held on November 3 at the Eviction Defense Collaborative located at 1338 Mission Street. More information for educators can be found at: http://www.homeownershipsf.org/Educators

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Page updated on 10/25/16