OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Living in the Bay Area we are all too familiar with the high price of housing, but with assistance from a San Francisco based company, educators can get much-needed help when purchasing a home. The move could potentially combat the growing departure of Bay Area teachers in search of more affordable housing.
"I live paycheck to paycheck and I can only cover my rent currently, and I live with four people,” said United Teachers of Richmond President Demetrio Gonzalez.
He represents 1,700 educators in the West Contra Costa County Unified School District. Gonzalez knows first-hand about the growing problem of retaining good educators. He says most leave for other places between their third and fifth year in the district because of financial reasons.
"Three hundred of our folks leave every year deciding what to do, and a majority of them actually stay in the teaching profession, they just go to cheaper places to live," said Gonzalez.
"We've got people commuting from Sacramento, Modesto and we would love to find any way we can to help them stay right here in the Bay Area where they teach," said West Contra Costa Unified Superintendent Matthew Duffy.
The district hopes to change that with its new partnership with San Francisco based Landed. Landed is a company that helps professionals and teachers pay up to half of a down payment on a home, in hopes of building financial security in areas where people work.
"In exchange for that support, Landed will share in a piece of the profit or loss when the educator sells or refinances their home," said Landed Spokeswoman Nikki Lowy.
According to the union, the average educator here makes roughly $63,000 a year. District leaders hope this incentive will help keep teachers in the area, and serve as a much-needed boost to employees in the district.
"We are not one of the highest paying districts in the state but we are one of the most expensive places to live," saod Duffy.
"It would take about 20 years to save to buy a home in Richmond with how much we currently get paid," says Gonzalez.
All teachers, administrators, and staff who work for WCCUSD are qualified for Landed’s down payment support, as long as they have been with the district at least two years and commit to staying for at least two more. They must also contribute their own 10% down payment.