PALO ALTO, Calif, - Officials for the South Bay and Peninsula took another stride on Tuesday in helping educators find affordable housing.
A ceremony was held in Palo Alto at the site of a forthcoming affordable housing complex.
"For years, my husband and I both worked two jobs as we taught in order to afford to live here. This is the reality for many educators starting out here," said Chris Hazelton, president of the Los Altos Teachers Association.
This reality has prompted teachers to explore alternative regions to embark on their careers and establish themselves.
"Great communities need great schools. Great schools need great staff members. And if those staff members can’t live or work here, because of the cost of housing, we’re all paying the price," said Santa Clara County District 5 Supervisor Joe Simitian.
Since 2017, Simitian has been at the forefront of endeavors to bring 231 Grant Avenue in Palo Alto to life.
Simitian has leveraged support from a dozen entities in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties to build 110 units, each costing $900,000.
"The road to 231 Grant has been both innovative and rewarding. It’s one that truly exemplifies the meaning of public-private partnerships for community benefit," said Holly Benson, president & CEO of Abode Communities.
Educators from six school districts spanning both counties will be eligible to apply for these residences.
"Together we’re helping teachers impact more fully their communities, and embracing the opportunity to look beyond the way things have always been done, to the way things can be done," said Ryan Patterson, director of strategic initiatives for Meta.
The South Bay is currently experiencing a surge in housing construction. Numerous affordable units have already been completed, and additional projects are underway. Nonetheless, certain housing advocates assert that progress needs to accelerate, considering the five years it took for the Grant Avenue project to materialize.
"We need large-scale federal investment like they started to do in the 1930s. We dealt with this housing crisis in the 30s by building public housing. Lots of public housing. And it solved the problem," said Sandy Perry, president of the Affordable Housing Network of Santa Clara County.
While political disputes continue in the halls of Capitol Hill, Simitian and his peers are pushing ahead with plans for another affordable housing complex for teachers, this time in Cupertino.
"Now, already, we’re now hearing from folks in other parts in our region, ‘hey, is this something we can do here?,’" said Simitian.
Anticipated completion for the Grant Avenue construction is slated for 2025.
Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Twitter, @JesseKTVU and on Instagram, @jessegontv.