For teachers who can barely afford the cost of living in LA, this district has an ingenious plan to assist its educators.
“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself,” infamously stated John Dewey. And for anyone who has ever known or had a favorite teacher, they are aware that ‘to teach’ is to do more than just outline lesson plans or grade papers, it is to actively participate in an individual’s maturation from young child to inspired adult.
So what, then, does it say about a society’s collective values when educators can no longer afford to live in a city where they feel called to teach?
Such is presently the conundrum in Los Angeles, where it is estimated an average income of $100,000 a year is required just to affordably live in a median rental home. While teachers aren’t exactly poor, such an income is a vast stretch for most full-time employees.
According to a UCLA study, the gap between local incomes and rents in LA have made it the least affordable rental market in America.
Thankfully the Unified School District in LA is doing something to remedy the situation. To ensure its teachers’ have safe and affordable housing near their workplace, a 66-unit, four-story Selma Community Workforce Housing project is underway.
The new housing is scheduled to open in fall of 2016, and the district says it’s “ … intended for L.A. Unified employees who fall into a designated economic category. The complex is part of the District’s ambitious effort to attract and retain staff who want to live near work but can’t afford to pay for housing costs. “
As LAUSD notes, the annual median rents in California have increased 21 percent since 2000, while average renters have experienced a real-world loss in income of eight percent:
Increasingly, the high rents place more people into poverty. A new report from the California Housing Partnership said statewide the lowest-income households spend two out of three dollars of income on housing. That leaves little money for food, utilities and other expenses.
This traps many people. In fact, the study found 1.5 million low-income households across the Southland cannot find housing they can afford. The problem has worsened as rents rise and incomes stall.
But that’s not all: the district agreed last month to a contract that will give its educators a 10 percent salary boost over two years – the kind of raise rarely seen by LA workers.
Three apartment complexes are panned for LA teachers, and one can only imagine the relief that will soon be felt by the educators once alternative options for secure, safe housing in this concerning economy are made available.
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