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Los Angeles Unified Launches Effort To Provide Affordable Housing for Teachers and Staff (06-09-21)

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Los Angeles Unified Launches Effort
To Provide Affordable Housing for Teachers and Staff

LOS ANGELES (June 9, 2021) -- Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner today announced a new effort to provide affordable housing which would allow District teachers, staff and families to live in the communities they serve.

“Creating affordable housing for teachers and school staff will allow them to live in the community alongside those they serve, fostering a stronger bond with students and their families,” Superintendent Beutner said. “Affordable housing will help schools attract and retain the next generation of teachers and school staff. Los Angeles Unified is the largest landowner in the greater Los Angeles area and is committed to using all of its assets to benefit the communities it serves.”

“The idea of affordable housing is exciting because it would allow teachers the ability to live in the neighborhood where we work, and help start our path to financial freedom,” Vista Middle School math teacher Christopher Bonnell said. “It would be liberating to not have the majority of my pay go toward rent.”

Los Angeles Unified previously worked with affordable-housing developers to build three projects where District employees receive priority in leasing the units. Sage Park Apartments were developed on an underutilized part of the Gardena High School campus and Selma Community Housing and Norwood Learning Village were built on parking lots near the elementary schools for which they are named.

“High housing costs and long commutes are keeping talented people from working in public education,” Superintendent Beutner said. “If we want the best for the students we serve, we will need to implement strategies like this to make sure every child gets a great education.”

“Lack of affordable housing is a challenge affecting so many communities in Los Angeles County, and I’m glad we in LA Unified are looking at ways we can be part of the solution,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “We are building on resolutions the Board passed in 2018 to expand housing access for families and employees, and I look forward to the continued planning to make that goal a reality.”

“Housing is a critical issue that impacts our employees and students alike,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Affordable housing is the building block of stable communities, so it is important to work with our local and state partners to explore all possible solutions.”

“Creating a stable and committed community inside and outside of our schools is important for student achievement across Los Angeles Unified,” Board Member Mónica García said. “This housing initiative will add another opportunity for housing for our employees who serve our communities.”

“This past year has laid bare critical gaps in our city’s social safety net and highlighted the importance of solutions like affordable housing to ensure that both our students and employees are set up for success,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “I appreciate LA Unified’s ongoing efforts to provide more holistic support to our school communities.”

"I’m a big believer in affordable housing and workforce housing,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “Los Angeles Unified has made great strides in working toward both.”

“I'm excited for the District to explore affordable housing options for our educators, staff and families, who are navigating Los Angeles County’s housing crisis exacerbated by the pandemic,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “This effort will take important initial steps toward giving our educators and staff the flexibility to live and work in the communities they serve, while also meeting the needs of our students and families.” 

“Cafeteria workers, custodians, playground aides remain among the most underpaid and undervalued in our schools leaving them to bear the brunt of our city's housing crisis,” SEIU Local 99 Executive Director Max Arias said. “Los Angeles Unified’s effort to expand housing for these employees will tremendously improve the lives of hundreds of essential workers.”