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Los Gatos teachers move to affordable units

After working a full day at Raymond J. Fisher Middle School, sixth-grade teacher Elizabeth Sharkey drove an hour from Los Gatos to rent a small room in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

That room was like a closet, and although it didn’t have a kitchen, it cost half my monthly income.

Sharkey currently lives in a one-bedroom apartment in downtown Los Gatos. She is located just minutes from the school where she works and her rent is negligible. Sarah Chaffin and her The SupportTeacherHousing.org team.

“All I could afford was to live in a small hovel in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It wasn’t a good rental situation,” Sharkey said. “When I came up with this, I was really lucky to do it because it was exactly what I needed right now. ”

of first of its kindthe four-unit development aims to support the “missing middle,” people who are too many to qualify for conventional affordable housing but not enough to live in the communities in which they work. It was intended.

Teachers are being discounted from the suburbs of Silicon Valley, some commuting several hours each day, and others moving to other states where they can afford to live.

More than 90 people filled out interest forms for four units, with rents ranging from $1,600 for one bedroom to $2,300 for two bedrooms. According to Zumper, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Los Gatos is $3,387, while a one-bedroom apartment is $2,411 for him.

Los Gatos Union School District Administrative Assistant Gloria Prado, her husband Leo Prado, and son Mateo Prado at their home in an affordable teacher housing development in Los Gatos, California, Sunday, February 26. Ms. (19 months), 2023. (Shay Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

Gloria Prado, an administrative assistant at the Los Gatos Union School District, has moved into one of the two-bedroom units with her husband, Leo, and their 19-month-old son, Mateo.

Prado and Leo lived in an apartment in West San Jose for over ten years. They lived with other educators before Mateo was born to keep his costs low.

“We’ve been living here in our current unit here in San Jose for a long time, so I’m excited to start a new chapter. The commute will be very short for me.” I’ve gotten some really good referrals.”

Residents will also take financial empowerment classes to help put a down payment on a home, Chaffin said.

“My dream, my goal, is to one day be able to buy a house. As a teacher in the Bay Area…how is that possible?” Anna Fogerty, 4th grade teacher at Mary Immaculate Conception said: “I’d like to think I’m pretty good at saving money, but even then, I’m spending a lot of money on rent and a lot of money just living my life.”

Fogarty and Alice Bowie, transitional kindergarten teachers at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, lived together in downtown Campbell before moving to Los Gatos.

Anna Fogarty, who teaches 4th grade at St.  Mary of the Immaculate Conception (right) and St. Joseph the Catholic Her School transition at her home in an affordable teacher housing development in Los Gatos, California, Sunday, February 26, 2023. Alice with her Bowie (left) teaching at Kata Kindergarten.  (Shay Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
Anna Fogarty (right), teaching fourth grade at St. Mary’s Immaculate Conception, and Alice Bowie (left), teaching Transitional Kindergarten at St. Joseph’s Catholic School. ., Sunday 26 February 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

“To be able to protect that much[money]each month, I think that’s pretty important,” Fogerty said. “I can afford to pay my rent. I’m very lucky in that I have job security. But these efforts are important if you want to be able to get through it.”

Bowie and Fogerty went to graduate school at Santa Clara University and subsidized affordable housing. Bowie was having trouble finding housing in Monterey, where he used to work.

“I really couldn’t put a lot of money into savings … because all my money was going to rent,” said Bowie. “I didn’t have a lot of extra money left for travel and savings, both of which are really important to me.”

Developer Chaffin said more than a decade ago, after watching his daughter’s teacher move to another district due to a lack of affordable housing for missing middle school students. He said he was called upon to take action. She partnered with Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simimian to host a town hall where teachers can share experiences and raise awareness with community stakeholders.

Teachers shared the realities of living situations such as renting illegally refurbished garages, couchsurfing, and living away from their cars. One teacher said she lives in her RV parked in a county park, and some teachers said they commute hours each day.

“Educators play a very integral and important role in the education of our children. What if instead of commuting an hour or two or more outside the community where they teach, they could become part of the community?” , that’s great,” said Prado. .

Chaffin asked about properties in Los Gatos. A Long History of Failing Affordable Housing Efforts —and worked with her team to develop a plan to get through the town council.

Construction of the unit was completed in November and tenants began moving in earlier this year.

The unit has nine-foot-tall ceilings, stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops sourced from leftovers of local high-end construction.

“We’re not lowering the rent just because the living conditions are bad. We live in a nice place with cheap rent, and that’s really nice,” said Bowie.

On Sunday, February 26, 2023, at an affordable teacher housing development in Los Gatos, California, Alice Bowie, who teaches transitional kindergarten at St. Joseph's Catholic School, holds her pet cat, Oliver, in her home. I'm here.  (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)
On Sunday, February 26, 2023, at an affordable teacher housing development in Los Gatos, California, Alice Bowie, who teaches transitional kindergarten at St. Joseph’s Catholic School, holds her pet cat, Oliver, in her home. I’m here. (Shay Hammond/Bay Area Newsgroup)

Chaffin said donations from local businesses and organizations were critical to completing the project and keeping costs low. Los Gatos Roofing built the roof for free and Adnac Fire Protection donated his $13,000 fire sprinkler system to the development.

Sharkey says living in the community where he works will enable him to play a more active role in student life. She often goes to student music performances and football games, usually at night. So she had to drive back on Highway 17 after dark, and she felt unsafe. When Highway 17 was closed by weather, like the recent blizzard in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Sharkey had to couchsurf at her fellow teacher’s house until the roads reopened.

“Now I can bike to school and participate in more student events,” Sharkey said. “When[students]see their teachers at a performance or a game, they light up.

Chaffin said he hopes the Los Gatos property will serve as a model for other cities to build similar complexes for their missing middle class.

“The obvious problem is that we need to pay more for teachers. But for the time being, having access to affordable housing really helps,” Bowie said.

https://www.siliconvalley.com/2023/03/01/exactly-what-i-needed-los-gatos-teachers-move-into-affordable-units/ Los Gatos teachers move to affordable units

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