Teachers in Los Angeles aren't exactly poor. But consider the cost of living here: A report last year said it takes you nearly $100,000 a year in household income just to make a median rental home in L.A. affordable.
Furthermore, a UCLA study concluded that the gap between local incomes and rents have made Los Angeles the least affordable rental market in America.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is one of the few bureaucracies in town that is doing anything significant about the problem.
Its 66-unit, four-story Selma Community Workforce Housing Project is under construction at North Cherokee and Selma avenues in Hollywood and is scheduled to open in fall of 2016, the district says. It's …
… intended for L.A. Unified employees who fall into a designated economic category. The complex is part of the District’s ambitious effort to attract and retain staff who want to live near work but can’t afford to pay for housing costs.
The LAUSD notes that annual median rents in California have increased 21 percent since 2000, while average renters have experienced a real-world loss in income of eight percent:
Increasingly, the high rents place more people into poverty. A new report from the California Housing Partnership said statewide the lowest-income households spend two out of three dollars of income on housing. That leaves little money for food, utilities and other expenses.
This traps many people. In fact, the study found 1.5 million low-income households across the Southland cannot find housing they can afford. The problem has worsened as rents rise and incomes stall.
Teachers are not immune. Interestingly, the district last month agreed to a contract that will give its educators a 10 percent salary boost over two years, the kind of raise not seen among average L.A. workers.
The LAUSD has planned three such apartment complexes for its teachers. The Sage Park Apartments next to Gardena Senior High School opened last month and features 90 units.
The 29-unit Norwood Learning Village near USC is expected to open late next year.
The district notes that its projects are among “few affordable housing projects under construction in the Southland.”
That's a problem. We're looking at you, City Hall.