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Teachers React To Miami-Dade's Affordable Housing Solution For Educators

C.M. Guerrero
Miami Herald

Imagine a new middle school planned in Brickell that has apartments for teachers on one of its floors. 

That's the latest idea Miami-Dade County Public School is proposing to help it's employees find affordable housing in a market where the the cost of rent is constantly growing.

The school district is considering using its own properties on or near school campuses to build housing for teachers. Also being considered: a 300 unit apartment complex next to Phyllis Wheatley Elementary in Overtown.

Teachers don't make that much money and they struggle to afford to live in the communities where they live.  Could living on school campuses solve that problem?

Read more: Teachers Can't Afford Miami-Dade rents. The County Has A Plan: Let Them Live At School

WLRN reached out to its listeners, some of whom are teachers, and asked how they felt about the proposal. Here's what some of you had to say: 

La-Shanda W. from North Miami:

"I think this is a good idea for educators. Affordable housing is a topic which directly affects me. After earning multiple degrees and teaching for almost 20 years, I cannot afford to purchase a house in Miami-Dade County. To further the point, I moved with my family (husband with two kids) in my mother-in-laws single family home because I could no longer afford living in the community where I work. Although I support this idea, some educators may not. The idea of living on school property makes them seem as if they have to maintain employer expectations, no private life." 

Mauricio M. from the Hammocks: 

"As an educator who has been in the education system for over 10 years in multiple facets, NO! I feel that we as teachers need a buffer zone away from our place of work. Away from the students, parents, staff in order to recharge mentally and physically to be a better teacher. I currently have a former student 2 doors down the street and years later it is still a little bit of an encumbrance. Additionally, I think that housing for teachers on campus will make them burn out faster." 

Michel from North Miami:

"I would be the first to apply. I drive over 60 miles a day in horrific traffic to get to my school location. I live with family and cannot afford to move given the costs of housing in Miami. Other major cities offer housing subsidies to teachers as incentive why shouldn't MDCPS?"

Melissa M. in Lake Worth:

"I think the idea is brilliant! When I visited with family in Oregon, near Eugene, there is a tiny home village made for veterans. These homes had average sq footage of 400', and community land with vegetable gardens, nondenominational church/town hall/event center, solar grid to help offset electric. There was a waiting list a mile long. There is no reason that this type of planned/affordable living could not be used in Florida on school property? And used for other low income professions (police, fire, first responders, etc). "

David R. in Miami:

"I thinks it's a terrible idea because we are not addressing giving teachers a living wage. They have other needs besides housing. Education needs to be a priority and funded as such. The state of Florida needs to fund education as it's an investment in America's competitive future." 

Katie Lepri Cohen is WLRN's engagement editor. Her work involves distributing and amplifying WLRN's journalism on social media, managing WLRN's social accounts, writing and editing newsletters, and leading audience-listening efforts.