A plan to build and preserve affordable housing for 500 San Francisco educators by 2020 is now on the boards. As proposed and announced by Mayor Ed Lee this morning, the City proposes to jointly finance at least one new affordable housing development for 100 educator households with the San Francisco Unified School District; provide rental assistance for another 100 educators; and fund up to 200 forgivable downpayment assistance loans through the Teacher Next Door program.

Counseling services intended to connect at least 100 educator households with existing Below Market Rate programs and eviction prevention services would also be funded for the next five years.

According to the Mayor, “Our new strategy to create opportunities for 500 teachers and educators to find affordable housing in San Francisco – from homeownership to rental subsidies to dedicated teacher housing to eviction prevention – is another step in finding real solutions for our City’s housing affordability crisis.”

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by BobN

    If only we had some outdated public housing project slated for demolition and reconstruction that could easily house several times that many households in a mix of public housing, market-rate housing, and subsidized housing for teachers, police, etc.

  2. Posted by grrr

    Then make those taxpayers with children subsidize homes for teachers. What we need are more dog parks.

    • Posted by Diverj

      I’m sensing sarcasm, but even so this comment really pisses me off since it actually is reflective of the general sentiment of people without children. Anyone that really feels this way is an a-hole.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        there are more dogs than children in the city, and its pretty hard for dogwalkers to pay rent these days. Why not subsidize dogwalkers as well.?

        The point is it is discriminatory to subsidize one profession over the other.

        • Posted by Diverj

          Got it. Owning a dog and raising a child have the same value to society.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            i dont beleive that. the 1st part was TIC. you do “raise” dogs too though, not jsut own them.

            the 2nd part is true. It is discriminatory for the govt to offer subsidized housing based on one profession over the other.

          • Posted by grrr

            No, children grow up to write graffiti, commit crimes and do more mayhem. Children are clearly far more expensive to all taxpayers; therefore, one could easily argue that raising a dog has more actual VALUE to society than owning a kid.

          • Posted by Diverj

            I can see you yelling at kids to get off your grass now. All these negative ROI children who cost society money. They never amount to anything – none of them!

            You’re just a curmudgeon. Our society is made up of all kinds of people and all ages. Some of these people are brand new! It takes a lot of work to shape them into a contributing member. Not everybody chooses to undertake such a responsibility to further our society in this way. Those that chose not to should be kind to those that do, since it’s f*cking hard and f*cking expensive.

      • Posted by grrr

        You can have all the children you want, but they have no “right” to live in San Francisco. Nor do their parents. Daly City and Pacifica are more affordable. Heck, Bayview is more affordable, yet it seems even teachers demand hipster neighborhoods. Fact is, taxpayers should not have to subsidize teachers to make them teach in SF, or families to breed and have kids and live in SF. Let the market decide.

        • Posted by marco

          You represent the worst of what San Francisco has to offer. Put it that way, dog walkers should subsidize street cleaning for all the poo on the sidewalks. Put it that way, perhaps your parents shouldn’t have “bred” if you’re so against it. Anyone who talks about families as “breeders” either needs to exile himself to a god-forsaken place, or is in need of some serious counseling. But of course, he’s a superior narcissist, so won’t.

          • Posted by Diverj

            Spot on.

          • Posted by oscar

            agree, normally i’m a fan of letting the market decide but this is sensible. these people disproportionately give back to the community. i’d much rather subsidize them than some dude on welfare or a homeless person hanging out in the haight.

        • Posted by Futurist

          Exactly. I’ve been saying for years here that no one has an “inherent right” to live in SF.

          And yes, they all seem to “want” the desirable neighborhoods that they simply cannot afford. Try the Bayview and southern neighborhoods.

          And NO, we should not subsidize housing for teachers. I would support paying them a better salary but that’s it.

          • Posted by Jake

            All US citizens have an inherent right to live in SF, as they do anywhere in the USA that is not otherwise restricted. They don’t have an inherent right to a subsidy to live in SF, though.

            We all have many “inherent rights” we will never exercise for lack of the necessary means, such as money, talent, or a dictionary.

          • Posted by Alai

            They do, of course, have an “inherent right” to park their cars in SF.

          • Posted by zig

            What if they don’t want to live in those neighborhoods? There are plenty of teaching jobs elsewhere with better behaved kids

        • Posted by zig

          The fact is the city subsidizes all sorts of stuff and it is what government is for. If the voters generally value teachers or is worried they are not attacking enough good young ones this is the outcome. Sort of makes sense.

          I think though it could just get worse for families so it gets even more extreme where anyone with any means just goes private or leaves. I was not too happy with the current state for my family

  3. Posted by Snark17

    Use Prop A taxpayer funds and buy prime Mission property– $500 million for 500 apartments. Problem solved.

    • Posted by grrr

      and then the teachers get to travel abroad for their summer off, each raking in $5-10k per month via Airbnb for their taxpayer subsidized home.

      • Posted by Dixon Hill

        Yeah. Those damn greedy teachers. Everyone knows they went into that line of work for the money!

  4. Posted by kbbl

    That kinda depends on what the Feds do to GGNRA rules.
    I love my dog, but comments like this make me want to watch Children of Men again.

    • Posted by moto mayhem

      The GGNRA thing pissed me off. Where do they expect the 10,000 dogs at fort funston per day to go? Maybe the 10 birdwatchers per day should be banned instead.

      • Posted by grrr

        Birdwatchers, teachers, people with children…all protected classes in SF today. Special bonus points if you are here from El Salvador illegally and have children in the SFUSD.

        • Posted by Mike Kennedy

          I am cool with the birdwatchers, dog walkers, teachers or people with kids. But the illegals should be thrown out. Violent or not,!

        • Posted by Medalist

          They’re called educators and childreners now. Didn’t you get the memo?

  5. Posted by san FronziScheme

    I wonder how much more cost-effective it would be to simply give vouchers to teachers?

    Teachers are either single, married with no kids and married with kids. On average they need a 2-bed/1-bath, which would cost around $4000/month (price would be adjusted compared with neighborhood) . We can decide they will pay only $2500 for it and subsidize the difference. This would amount to 18K/year per family and the subsidy would fluctuate with market rates. Plus it could be immediate, instead of having the City once more having to fight everyone including its own inefficiencies to make stuff happen.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Yup – my thought with the headline was “gee, only 5 years to generate 500 housing units, what a wondrous world in which we live”… and it turns out it’s not even building 500 units, at that. Ridiculous.

    • Posted by lyqwyd

      Yes, vouchers would make much more sense, the teachers could then live wherever they want in SF, and it would cost far less, and/or serve far more people.

      • Posted by Wai Yip Tung

        Building housing for teachers might look like a good gesture to the public. But I am skeptical about the economic efficiency of these sort of programs. Out of 9,000 SFUSD employees, you are either among the small number of individuals who win the lottery, or you more likely you gets nothing. Giving everyone voucher seems more fair and effective.

        • Posted by san FronziScheme

          Yes, and at what I estimated to be 18K/year, the total budget would be less than what we pay for the homeless in the City budget. Our choice: keep the teachers in SF or attract even more homeless through guilt money.

    • Posted by Jake

      SFUSD has ~3100 teachers. An addition $18k/year on average for teachers would be ~$56 million/year. SFUSD has ~56,000 students. So, your idea would cost about $1k/student. It would also be ~7% increase of the current total budget.

      A big advantage of a direct payment, either voucher or bonus, over these subsidy program schemes would be the much lower admin cost. SF politicians seem pathologically drawn to bureaucratic solutions to ordinary problems. Almost as if they were trying to hide how little they accomplish by how much they talk about it.

      FWIW, there are also ~2100 support staff (counselors, librarians, social workers, nurses, psychologists, paras, etc) that might qualify for similar pay raise/voucher. That would take another ~$38 million/year. Only a few million more than what SF lost last year in the twitter tax breaks.

      • Posted by san FronziScheme

        Yes, and another big argument for vouchers is the following:

        Say you have 2 married employees making 50K each. Together they cannot afford the $4K/month rent. They can only afford $2.5K.

        To keep teachers in, the city would have to make a “cost of living adjustment” in the range of 40%, bringing their collective pay from $100K to $140K. With all the extra contributions, we are talking about an extra expense of $50K, when a voucher system would cost only $18K.

    • Posted by zig

      Totally agree it is dumb for the city to try to build rather than just starting a subsidy program for young teachers

      • Posted by san FronziScheme

        It would probably be a lifetime subsidy. Of course older teachers might be locked into a cheaper rental or even a home they own. But someone who starts in SF as a teacher will probably never be able to afford anything except if the SO is making enough dough.

  6. Posted by alberto rossi

    Only 100 new units and more help for teachers to compete for 400 existing units? Putting more money into the demand side rather than the supply side isn’t going to do much to increase affordability overall.

    • Posted by san FronziScheme

      Well, the supply is basically allowing units to be built. Plus demand “can” fluctuate. I recall a period in 2009-2010 when rents were going down very slightly. With rent control, teachers can also “lock” a rent when prices are lower.

  7. Posted by Jamie

    There is that piece of land in Mission Bay that SFUSD has an option until 2025 to use for building a new elementary school – seems a suitable spot to build a 10-story residential tower on top of the school to house teachers. All those thousands of affordable housing units getting built in SoMa and Mission Bay provide plenty of demand for a second school in SoMa/Mission Bay. There is a hearing Thursday at 3:30 in City Hall, Room 250 about a Mission Bay school possibility.

  8. Posted by jamesjr

    What is so sacred about teachers? Why do they deserve all these benefits?

    • Posted by san FronziScheme

      Not all jobs are made equal. Teachers, firemen, policemen, trash collectors and a few other jobs do bring a lot of positive to a society. They’re the necessary good. A fund manager at Goldman Sachs or a gun store employee or a Google employee just happen to exist and do not serve a core function in society. You can call them necessary evil, depending on your opinions.

      Imagine what your life has been with twice more pupils in junior high, or the burning house next door not being saved fast enough, or the thugs not being kept in check and moving in next door to you. The Goldman Sachs guy? If he fell into molten lava, the earth would just mark its disappearance with a small burp.

      • Posted by moto mayhem

        i would argue that the existence of google has done far more good to scoiety than all my individual teachers combines.

        • Posted by EcceMorons

          I think you’d have a might strong argument there. 🙂

          Most of my early teachers were baby-sitters, who taught us things that anyone with a 90 IQ could have taught us (basic math, reading). In high school their main job was Advanced Baby-sitting, i.e. maintain control of the wilder teenagers among us.

          And since then, my own curiosity and desire to learn has been aided far more by Google than by any moronic college professor/blowhard I ever had.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme

            I see the libertarian “I do not owe anything back to anyone” force is strong in this one.

            Only the Billionaire can have their own police, firefighter, military, teacher force. The mere mortals have to pool resources to get to a pretty darn good level of civilization.

        • Posted by san FronziScheme

          It’s a for-profit company, without a real conscience. Its goal is not to help civilization but produce returns on investments, prospects for its own future while providing work satisfaction and paychecks to its employees. If its goal were to produce oil, it would not care one iota about pollution, and the only reason for not being too evil would be regulation and the enforcement of regulation.

          Now Google is a well-known tax dodger in Europe. It’s just a company. It’s a great company producing a fantastic series of product, but no not confuse public service with consumer service.

          • Posted by moto mayhem

            it is a consumer service. but my point is i ahve learned more due to google than many of my teachers combined. Many teachers actually provided a public disservice by being bad teachers. Most of mine were good, but a few were very bad. Google has added a lot to society in terms of education.

          • Posted by san FronziScheme

            I would say Wikipedia has brought more education than Google. Google is access. Wikipedia and others are content/knowledge. It doesn’t replace scholar work though.

            We all had good/bad teachers though calling a teacher “bad” can be a subjective opinion. Overall I am a better human being thanks to school. I cannot imagine what my life would have been without teachers.

          • Posted by Medalist

            Sounds like a good argument to privatize public schools. Teachers can get a cut when thier pupil becomes a Google employee

          • Posted by san FronziScheme

            Medalist, In that case they would only cater to all the smart hard working kids, and leave everyone else behind. I hope you planned the construction of more jail space in your utopia, because you’ll need it.

      • Posted by James

        I don’t think we need to worry about firefighters or policemen – they’re VERY well taken care of (though that doesn’t stop them from complaining).

        • Posted by Mike Kennedy

          True. Cops and firemen have always lived outside the city (but not all of them). My dad was a cop in 60’s and 70’s my mom was always trying to get him to move to Marin. He said he would never leave the city because he didn’t like the suburbs.

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          teachers have a good living as well for decent workdays and summers off. Both my mom and sister are teachers and would never give up the lifestyle. hourly pay is not bad at all when you count the hours, and pension is good.

  9. Posted by formidable doer of the nasty

    Are private school teachers going to be eligible for this program, or is this just another kind of preferential treatment thrown after public school teachers in return for providing subpar education?

    • Posted by Jake

      sure, all they would have to do is apply, that is apply for a job with SFUSD. Just like everyone else.

    • Posted by zig

      Do the teachers provide a subpar education or are the kids just dumber and more disruptive?

      My Dad and brother went to Balboa and it was a sh!tty school from about 1950-1990 but now I hear it is much better with the influx of Asian kids. I am glad those teachers and administrators finally figured out how to teach these kids

  10. Posted by Louis

    This is a good goal – but moving past that point….

    This plan will have a major obstacles to moving forward because teachers are not a protected class of people under anti-discrimination laws. It is not lawful to create a housing project that is only available to teachers and excludes or even “un-prefers” any other people.

    I am fairly certain people in the city administration know this – certainly the head of MOH and the City attorney know it very well.

    So one has to wonder what the goal of this announcement it – political or some tangible result? Its my understanding that if it were litigated ( this is SF so its a given) that it would lose.

    • Posted by Dr. House

      Uh, what?

      The protected class term you threw out is completely backwards in this context. You can’t *exclude* a protected class. However that doesn’t mean anything about what classes of people you can include as long as you aren’t excluding a particular protected class. So you can’t say “no women” or “no Muslims.” But “non-teachers” are not a protected class so it’s ok to have housing just for teachers. Plenty of colleges have just that. You could also say “no teachers” since teachers aren’t a protected class either, although that would be rather mean.

  11. Posted by anun

    They can commute like the rest of us.

  12. Posted by alberto rossi

    Here’s an interesting game: read the comments before reading the post, then try to guess what the post was about.

  13. Posted by Dixon Hill

    Your game won’t work. The comments are always the same, regardless of what the post is about.
    I say ban all teachers from San Francisco. Why do they feel so *entitled*? It’s their own damn fault they didn’t go into a more remunerative line of work. They should have bought a home in 2010. I don’t want to live around people who can’t afford to buy a home.

    • Posted by alberto rossi

      Not quite true. The word “parking” hasn’t come up at all here.

  14. Posted by Pablito

    How to make political points in the City – Favor one group over another – whatever you do – do not treat everyone equally.

    Why does ED Lee / SFUSD want to exclude the nurses at SFH who treat dying patients from affordable housing?

    Why do they want to exclude the social workers who spend all day helping abused SF children from affordable City subsidized housing?

    Why not treat everyone equally? Doesn’t help with your re-election campaign….

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