Employer Sponsored Housing: Education

Students and educators are vital members of our local communities. Providing affordable housing options for both of these groups has emerged as a leading strategy for attracting and retaining teachers, staff, and students to our public schools and higher education institutions in the Monterey Region and across the State of California. (Read an article from MC Weekly on this subject.)

School district-sponsored housing projects in the Bay Area and elsewhere serve as models for how cities and school districts can work together to attract and retain qualified teachers and maintain a workforce that prepares our youth for the future. This strategy has been or is currently being pursued by two school districts in our region, Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) and Soledad Unified School District (SUSD). Rental and Homeownership programs for educators strengthen our ability to retain these educators as members of our local workforce.

Housing for undergraduate and graduate students is also a critical component of investment by our region’s leading institutions of higher learning. The University of California of Santa Cruz and California State University Monterey Bay host thousands of students each year who will one day serve as members of our workforce locally and beyond. Students and educators at community colleges and universities like Monterey Peninsula College, Cabrillo Community College, and Hartnell College provide vocational training and important stepping stones to 4-year universities. All of these institutions are continuously evaluating their opportunities to create on-campus or off-campus housing opportunities and MBEP is here to assist with making these developments come to fruition by sharing successful models and providing advocacy support as needed.

Though there is still much work to be done, significant progress has been made in the development of housing for both K-12 students and educators and for affiliates of our higher education institutions (see below). Here are a few examples of work we’ve supported since the founding of the MBEP Housing

University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) Student Housing West:

Location: Santa Cruz, CA
Number of Units: 3,000+ beds
Company Name: University of California, Santa Cruz
Year Started: TBD
Year Complete: TBD
Architect: HED
Engineer: Forell/Elsesser Structural Engineers & Interface Engineering
Developer/Contractor: Capstone
Landscaping: Walker I Macy
Uniqueness: Quality higher education facilitates that provide students a place to live, learn, and play
Project Timeline: Click here
Student Housing West will provide 3,072 on-campus beds for UCSC’s undergraduate, graduate and student-family communities. It will also provide a childcare facility, which is an excellent use of mixed-use housing. In addition to housing and connecting students to the university’s facilities and resources, the project will alleviate pressure from the off-campus housing market. We have no doubt that Student Housing West will benefit both students and members of the Santa Cruz community at large.

Landed Homeowner Program for Educators & Health Care Workers:

Location: Santa Cruz County
Number of Units: 37 purchased homes
Year Complete: Founded in 2015
Organization: Landed
Uniqueness: Homeownership program for educators and health care workers in Santa Cruz County
Project Timeline: Ongoing, learn more about Landed
MBEP has supported Landed’s efforts since they first created their shared equity down payment program to help more educators to become homeowners in 2015. We are thrilled to see how far they’ve come in supporting not only educators but also healthcare workers and first responders in Santa Cruz, the San Francisco Bay Area and in a growing number of cities across the country.

Monterey Peninsula Unified School District (MPUSD) Teacher Housing Bond Measure:

Location: Monterey Peninsula
Number of Units: 120 – 180
Year Complete: TBD
Organization: Monterey Peninsula Unified School District
Uniqueness: Below market rate educator housing intended to attract and retain teachers and staff
Close to 100 teachers leave MPUSD each year due to limited supply and the high cost of housing on the Monterey Peninsula. MBEP has long supported MPUSD’s attempts to develop below-market-rate rental housing for their employees in order to better attract and retain high-quality educators to our region. In 2018, MPUSD kick-off this process by identifying the best possible sites for such development. Out of the 26 sites owned by the district, five were flagged for further exploration, and MidPen Housing (MBEP member and longtime development partner) identified two in particular for having the highest potential.

In 2019, a Request For Proposal (RFQ) was issued by the District, and two options for an educator housing development were explored – one proposed by MidPen Housing and Habitat for Humanity, and one by Ausonio Inc. In its first attempt to finance the project, the district decided to explore a school bond measure. Though the final motion to place the measure on the 2020 ballot failed by one vote at the MPUSD Board of Trustees, there remains multiple pathways and a significant appetite for educator housing on the Monterey Peninsula.

Soledad Teacher-Staff Housing:

Location: Soledad, CA
Number of Units: TBD
Project Start Date: late 2021/ early 2022
Project Completion Date: TBD
Company Name: Soledad Unified School District
Development Consultant: Education Housing Partners
Financial Advisor: Dale Scott & Company, Inc.
In November 2020, voters in the Soledad Unified School District approved a $13.75 million bond, part of which is to be used to construct an estimated 20 units of below-market rental housing for district teachers and staff.
This will be the first project in Monterey County to use voter-approved general obligation bonds to fund teacher-staff housing. The district is currently undertaking a site feasibility study and is targeting a project start date in late 2021/ early 2022. They are also holding collaborative discussions with the City of Soledad on the potential for working together to expand the scope of the project.

“Constructing below-market teacher-staff rental housing in Soledad will benefit our entire community. Our teachers and staff will now be able to live where they teach and work while rental income from the project can be reinvested in our classrooms to enhance our children’s educational environment.”  

Javier Galvan, President, Soledad Unified School District Board of Education