Affordable Housing for Teachers Underway in Palo Alto

Parents, caregivers, and students all agree – talented educators play an outsized role in creating thriving neighborhoods. That’s why it’s vital for teachers and other school staff to have affordable housing opportunities close to where they work.

This fall, Mercy Housing California (MHC) and nonprofit developer Abode Communities broke ground on 231 Grant, a new community that meets this rising need. A construction site, just blocks from the Stanford University campus, will soon be home to 110 teachers, school district staff members, and their families. The development was spearheaded by Supervisor Joe Simitian, who recognized the challenges educators in the South Bay Area were facing in finding housing near their workplaces.

“No one wins when teachers have to commute from miles and miles away,” said Simitian, who spoke at the groundbreaking event. “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.”

Investing in Educators

According to nonprofit newsroom EdSource, 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 Mercy Housing and Abode Communities teams behind 231 Grant hope the community will serve as a national model for educator-serving housing throughout the region and state.

By surveying more than 1,300 staff and stakeholders at many school districts throughout the South Bay, the 231 Grant team was able to design a community that will meet the needs of its future residents. Teachers and school employees in four Santa Clara County school districts, as well as multiple schools in southern San Mateo County, will be eligible to apply for the rental homes once they are completed.

For local elementary school teacher and union representative Chris Hazelton, the new housing at 231 Grant can’t arrive soon enough. “As a teacher in the Los Altos School District, I’m so grateful that our district has made this investment in housing for its employees,” Mr. Hazelton shared at the groundbreaking. “This commitment from the districts and Santa Clara County ensures that more teachers are able to live, work, and thrive in our community.”

Mercy Housing thanks our co-developer Abode Communities; financing partners the County of Santa Clara, Meta, the City of Palo Alto, Palo Alto Unified School District, Los Altos School District, Mountain View Whisman School District, Foothill-DeAnza Community College District, Century Housing Corporation and the San Francisco Housing Accelerator Fund; and all participating schools and educators for your collaboration at 231 Grant.