LA school district looks at affordable housing for employees
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Unified School District is exploring a plan to provide 2,000 affordable housing units so teachers and other employees can live in the communities where they work.
Officials have not made any determinations about where the units might be built, but they will be considering properties the district owns that are unused or underutilized, the Daily News reported.
“As we look to recruit the next generation of talent to work in our schools, we have to understand for them to live and work in the communities they serve, they have to be able to afford it,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said during a news conference Wednesday.
According to a staff presentation prepared for this week’s school board meeting, many employees live outside of LA where it’s cheaper and some spend up to 2.5 hours commuting each way to and from work, the newspaper said.
Beutner said he hopes the first affordable housing units will go up within the next year or two. He expressed hope that the city will help the district expedite the permitting processes.
Christopher Bonnell, a middle school teacher in Panorama City where he also lives, said he spends about 50% of his monthly income on rent. Many of his colleagues, he said, have roommates to share in housing expenses and must put up with long commutes because they can only afford to live in places much further from their schools.
“Affordable housing would … ensure quality teachers come to LAUSD and work in the area they are needed,” he told the newspaper. “It will simply bolster teacher retention.”
Wednesday’s announcement came a day after the school board voted 6-1 to authorize staff and a $1.5 million initial budget to do their “due diligence” as they explore affordable housing opportunities for employees.