Employer Sponsored Housing
MBEP Celebrates Soledad Unified School District Bond Measure to Fund Workforce Housing
A local housing strategy that is making its way across California, School District Employee Housing, has officially made its way to Monterey County. Soledad Unified School District made history in the November 2020 elections by becoming the first jurisdiction to propose and pass a bond measure, $13.2 million, to fund housing for teachers.
MBEP Housing Associate Emily Ham recently met with SUSD Superintendent Tim Vanoli and Associate Superintendent Randy Bangs to hear how they approached their measure and share about MBEP’s own Employer Sponsored Housing Advocacy. The district leaders described a scenario akin to many in the Monterey Bay Area: a large number of staff that work in the district, but don’t live there due to lack of affordable housing.
Prior to the budget crunch, SUSD sponsored seven vans that came into town each day from the main hubs where staff resides. That’s seven trips per day to and from schools which not only costs the district but also adds significant vehicle miles traveled in the region. Long commutes also contribute to a much greater problem for school districts: high turnover rates of qualified educators.
This is not the district’s first attempt at passing a bond measure. Vanoli noted that the original $11.5 million bond, proposed in March 2020, failed by only 50 votes. This time around, with the support of the City of Soledad and the inclusion of additional funding for technology improvements for schools, the bond passed with a 53.6% majority.
MBEP applauds Soledad Unified School District, the City of Soledad, and its residents for the innovation and courage to move forward with this important initiative. The district will be assembling its plans for housing this year and we look forward to supporting their efforts.
Employer-Sponsored Housing Initiative: Employers are increasingly playing a larger role in the welfare of their employees. In addition to health care benefits, retirement plans, and wellness programs, some employers have raised the bar and created much-needed, affordable homes for their employees. MBEP applauds these creative and innovative efforts that provide benefits for the company, the employees, and the community.