Oakland Expands Housing Program for Teachers of Color

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and a host of other political leaders and community organizers announced Tuesday that a total of 30 teachers are benefiting from what they say is a one-of-a-kind national program that provides grants to teachers through through allowances and reduced prices. lodging.

Twelve teachers received housing in November and Schaaf announced that 18 more teachers will be included in the Teacher Rooted in Oakland program, which aims to provide housing for teachers of color.

Schaff said these teachers receive $ 500 a month in guaranteed income for four years if they continue to teach in Oakland. The money comes entirely from private funds, and the mayor thanked the Bank of America, the nonprofit Community Development Finance, the Pritzker Foundation, the Hellman Foundation, the California Endowment and other nonprofit philanthropic organizations for their help.

When the program launched last fall, it served 12 teachers, 11 of whom are BIPOC and 50% of them were born or raised in the Bay Area.

“Sixty-one percent of teachers of color pay more than 30 percent of their income just to pay rent,” Schaaf said. “TRiO (Teachers Rooted in Oakland) is the antidote to these problems. TRiO provides beautiful, heavily subsidized housing at our Teachers’ Residence so they can quit that second job. They don’t have to drive Uber. They can just drive Uber. focus on finishing their job graduate and actually teaching Oakland students. And then once these people have completed their residency year… they continue to teach in the city where they can finally afford to live. And that’s Oakland. “

The announcement comes at a time when the country faces a teacher shortage exacerbated by the pandemic. The Bay Area situation has always been worse as the cost of living here far exceeds the salary of a teacher.

The program was launched in November last year with the goal of increasing the recruitment and retention of BIPOC educators in Oakland.

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As described by the city, the pilot program offers “resident teachers” – graduate students training with mentor teachers while completing their teaching degrees – the option of subsidized housing in Paloma Apartments in the District of. Laurel of Oakland and provides stipends for new teachers while also offering free financial counseling services, including small interest-free loans.

Recruiting and retaining teachers in Oakland, especially teachers of color, and ensuring housing safety is a top priority for the city and district, where more than 85% of students are black, Indigenous and of color, said the city.

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Teachers of color in particular matter to Oakland students, city leaders said.

Research shows that not only do students of all races have a more positive perception of their black and Latin teachers than their white teachers, they are also more likely to graduate from high school and more likely to feel stuck. in charge, committed to school work, and confident, the studies show.

City data also shows that two-thirds of teachers in Oakland spend more than 30% of their salary on housing, 40% of teachers in Oakland spend up to 50% of their income on housing; and 61% of teachers of color spend more than 30% of their income on housing

Additionally, 40% of teachers said they plan to leave the Bay Area within the next five years because of the cost of living.

Oakland teacher Malik Stead, a graduate student who is finishing his science studies and currently at Roosevelt Middle School, said in a previous interview with the town that he grew up in a low-income family and that he had struggled to find affordable housing in the Bay Area.

“I see teaching as a matter of social justice and I see teaching as my way of approaching social justice,” he told the city. “This pilot gave me the opportunity to have my own space and allows me to become a better teacher because all of my emotional and physical needs are met.”

The pilot program was made possible by donations of $ 150,000 through the nonprofit Community Development Finance, the Pritzker Foundation, the Hellman Foundation, the California Endowment and other philanthropic champions. . The goal is to expand the program to recruit and retain more than 100 teachers over the next nine years.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED: Community members and organizations wishing to help with fundraising efforts to support the program can visit the The CDF donations page and write “teacher accommodation” for the tribute or organizational gift, or contact David Silver, the mayor’s director of education, directly at [email protected], make a donation or become a partner.

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