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Here's what you need to know about the new teacher-housing project in Palo Alto

Original post made on Feb 3, 2023

Plans are underway to break ground in the next several months on an educator-housing project in Palo Alto that was proposed more than five years ago.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 3, 2023, 7:28 AM

Comments (6)

Posted by Silver Linings
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 3, 2023 at 10:00 am

Silver Linings is a registered user.

This is fantastic. I hope we will see another project at San Antonio on school district property?

A few concerns:
1) These projects are hard to develop and fund. I object vehemently to the possibility of their sunsetting after 25 or even 50 years. What happens after 25 years, in the case of the Mountain View project? Can we ensure these properties remain affordable units in perpetuity?

2) 30% of income is high. Can the rent be a lower % of income, or the rents structured to encourage longterm employees and their financial success? Thinking along the lines of half of rent going into an interest-bearing fund that each employee can access after so many years to use as a down payment for their own purchased housing IF they remain employed by the district. Or maybe all of rent could be used IF the purchased property becomes a district BMR unit and benefits both the employee and future employees in housing costs in some way, similar to existing BMR programs. The intent would be to encourage longterm employment, bringing family homes into a BMR program, assisting teachers and other district employees with longterm financial goals in order to remain in the district longterm, and increasing BMR housing stock for essential employees.

3) the elephant in the room is what happens to teachers who don’t make tenure, or who do but aren’t performing well. Sure, it’s ideally a great performance incentive to keep the housing but it’s also a great incentive for poor performers or cliques to game the system. How to prevent this must be thought through or it will poison the program.

4) again, 30% of income is a lot. As some approach income limits, they may no longer qualify yet be unable to afford market housing; it would help if income from rent is set aside as funds for deposits or down payments on their own housing when they move out, if they remain employees, or to support other public safety employees.

Posted by panative
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2023 at 10:55 am

panative is a registered user.

Shocking and strange to read that Todd Collins voted against this but happy that he's an outlier. I've lived here most of my life and when I was a PAUSD student many of my teachers lived in the community. Now that's impossible given housing costs - glad this project will make that possible for a lucky few at least.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2023 at 11:00 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

I believe 30% has always been the rule of thumb for housing, i.e, rent, house payment.

Posted by NeilsonBuchanan
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 3, 2023 at 2:26 pm

NeilsonBuchanan is a registered user.

It would be very informative to understand the how equity in this project is managed at the end of 25 years. The key documents, especially bond convenants, should be available to the public and instructive to all of the stakeholders.

There are at least two primary issues. First, Long-term ownership and control of the real estate provided by Santa Clara County. Second, control and ownership of the building(s) and improvements. These issues and others must be spelled out now by binding agreements.

I agree with Silver Linings. What happens to each of these "equity" interests in 25 years?

Posted by Retired PAUSD Teacher
a resident of another community
on Feb 3, 2023 at 3:30 pm

Retired PAUSD Teacher is a registered user.

Hope the project works to help hire and retain good teachers. Commutes are horrible. A young teacher surely will benefit. But when that young teacher decides they want a family and a home of their own, well, good luck on the Peninsula.

Posted by Ana
a resident of another community
on Feb 16, 2023 at 4:02 pm

Ana is a registered user.

How will this be equitable? People who get the units via lottery will be getting de facto raises from the district.
Palo Alto has 635 teachers, and then add all the other staff, say 1000 employees in all, for 28 units. With rents $800 to $2500 less than market rates, that is a nearly $10k to $30k savings annually for the lucky 2.8% of employees who are apartment winners. I’m not against building affordable housing, but this seems like a valid issue.

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