City of San Francisco, school district offer housing assistance to help keep teachers in city

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SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) — San Francisco school and city officials today announced a package of new housing assistance and resources for educators intended to help keep teachers living and working in the city.

The services, which were developed in a joint effort by the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Economic Development, San Francisco Unified School District and the United Educators of San Francisco, including housing assistance, eviction defense and increased access to affordable housing, officials said.

The services will include regular workshops by Homeownership SF and member housing counseling agencies to help teachers access Below Market Rate rental and homeownership opportunities.

In addition, the Eviction Defense Collaborative and Justice and Diversity Center will offer a legal advice hotline and consultations at school sites, rental and other financial assistance and legal representation.

The services are the result of a working group formed by the mayor’s office, school district, teacher’s union and community housing organizations in 2014 in response to a statewide teacher shortage that has been made worse locally by high housing prices.

The group developed a strategy that includes the construction of new housing for educators in the longer term, as well as increased services and resources in the shorter term.

“It’s getting especially tough to draw and keep employees here in San Francisco, where housing prices are sky-high,” interim Superintendent Myong Leigh said in a statement.

“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,” Mayor Ed Lee said.

In San Francisco, median rent for a one bedroom is more than $3,400 per month, or more than 60 percent of an average teacher’s monthly salary, according to district officials. A December 2015 survey by the teachers’ union found that 59 percent of teachers were worried that the high cost of living could push them out of the district.

Union President Lita Blanc said teachers would now have a single, dedicated service provider instead of relying on a patchwork of services.

Housing clinics will be held on the first Thursday of each month from 4 to 7:30 p.m. More information for educators can be found at: http://www.homeownershipsf.org/Educators.

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