NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Subsidized Housing For Public Employees?

June 7, 2000

Housing prices are out of sight at some locations in Western states. California's Silicon Valley is a much-publicized example. In fact, costs are so high that teachers and other public servants cannot afford to live in the communities in which they work.

So a movement is now afoot to construct federally-subsidized housing for teachers. Other public sector employees, such as firefighters, police officers and registered nurses, are monitoring developments with some interest.

  • In San Francisco -- where the median price of housing is approaching $500,000 -- the school district is joining with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to build a $15 million, 43-unit dwelling for teachers where apartments will go for $700 a month, a project believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
  • Communities between San Francisco and Silicon Valley's San Jose have launched home-loan programs and other forms of relief targeted at emergency personnel.
  • San Jose is already exploring various affordable-housing options -- including housing for municipal workers.
  • Officials of California's Santa Clara district have also talked with HUD about subsidized housing -- specifically, 40 one- and two-bedroom apartments to be built at a cost of $5 million.

In Washington state, legislators have proposed housing allowances for teachers in the Bellevue area. In New Mexico, the Santa Fe school district has purchased rental housing for school personnel and has asked the legislature for funds to build low-cost teacher housing. Similar proposals are on the books in Alaska and Texas, where rural school districts offer subsidized housing dubbed "teacherages."

Source: Ann Grimes, "To Keep the Teachers in Town, Rich Communities Offer Housing Help," Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2000.


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