OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – Looking to solve their shortage of teachers, the Oakland Unified School district is looking at a plan to build its own affordable housing to attract candidates.
Oakland educators say the housing crisis is partly why they’re short on teachers this year.
Teachers Sara Welborn and Delana Hill said even with roommates, they are struggling financially.
“I couldn’t afford to live on my own, so I had to have a roommate,” said Welborn, a second grade teacher.
They spend more than half of their monthly wages on housing.
“I’ve spent a lot of time just sitting at home because I don’t have the money to go out,” Welborn said.
Hill, who teaches first grade, said, “I’m planning to get married in the next few years and our plans don’t include the Bay Area in our future because it’s so expensive to live here.”
That’s why Oakland Unified is looking to buy vacant land near Lake Merritt to build affordable housing for teachers.
“Anything that we can do to make teaching, teaching in Oakland a more attractive option, is something we should pursue,” said OUSD board member Jody London.
This prime piece of land generated a lot of controversies in recent months. Neighbors shut down a City Hall meeting after the city decided to sell the land to a developer, to build luxury housing.
Now that the city is again soliciting offers for the land, the school district wants in.
“This is something I would be interested in applying for. I probably would be one of those people saying, ‘Please, pick me to live here,’” Welborn said.
Hill said, “I know my rent isn’t going to be $2,600 next year. It’s going to be $2,800.”
It’s a brand new idea for Oakland Unified, but some districts in Los Angeles and other cities are already building affordable housing for their teachers.