Affordable housing for teachers breaks ground in Palo Alto

Rendering of the affordable teacher housing complex on Grant Avenue in Palo Alto. (Image courtesy of County of Santa Clara)

Construction began today on 231 Grant, a 110-unit affordable housing complex for teachers and school staff, in Palo Alto.

The complex will include studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Rents will be 60% to 140% of the area’s median income.

Four Santa Clara County districts – Palo Alto Unified School District, Los Altos School District, Mountain View Whisman School District, and Foothill-DeAnza Community College District – are contributing funding to the development. Teachers and school employees in these districts, as well as multiple schools in southern San Mateo County, will be eligible to apply for apartments once they are completed.

Teachers throughout California struggle to afford housing in the districts where they work, and disparities between teacher pay and housing are most extreme in the Bay Area.

The project was proposed by Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian in 2018 to help attract and retain teachers and to allow them to live near their places of employment.

“No one wins when teachers have to commute from miles and miles away,” Simitian said. “It’s harder to attract and retain the best teachers when the cost of housing is so high. And time in the car is time not spent with students or preparing lesson plans. When teachers are forced out of the housing market, they become more and more remote from the communities where they teach. By having our teachers live and work nearby, we’re strengthening their role in the community.”

The project is being built on county-owned land through a partnership between the county, Mercy Housing of California, Meta, the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund, Century Housing and local school districts, among others.

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