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June 25, 2021

BAR-designed Shirley Chisholm Village Affordable Educator Housing moving forward in San Francisco

SF Chronicle – San Francisco’s dream of building affordable housing for teachers is finally close to fruition after more than 20 years of false starts and stalled plans. The school district is moving forward with plans to build 134 units for educators at a site in the Outer Sunset. The district’s development partner, MidPen Housing, said it could break ground at the shuttered Francis Scott Key Annex site as soon as next year — if state funding comes through — and begin leasing apartments in 2024. On Tuesday, the school board approved tenant preference and eligibility policies, a key step to establishing lease terms and beginning negotiations with potential lenders and investors.

That development comes after plans to build on the same site were opposed by neighbors in 2000 and the district struggled in the two decades since to gain traction on another project. Meanwhile, the Bay Area’s high housing costs continue to rise, pushing teachers farther away from San Francisco. According to the district, some teachers and staff commute up to five hours a day. SFUSD is battling a 10% teacher attrition rate every year, at least in part due to affordability issues. Homes in the city are more expensive than ever, and rental prices are rebounding after dropping during the pandemic.

But while there’s progress on the $107 million project at 1530 43rd Ave., plans to build teacher housing at three other sites seem to have stalled, reflecting the glacial pace of developing affordable housing in San Francisco due to long approval processes and high construction costs. And it’s not clear whether teacher housing will help with retention and recruitment, with some researchers arguing that training, support, raises and student loan forgiveness are better ways to keep educators.

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