San Francisco’s housing crisis has a devastating effect on teachers, who spend an average of 64 percent of their salary on rent in the city, according to a special report by the Chronicle.
Supervisor David Campos took steps earlier this year to help teachers avoid one aspect of housing instability by preventing evictions during the school year — but that still leaves them to displacement in the summertime and does nothing about the high housing costs that burden teachers and other city workers.
We asked our District Nine candidates what they would do specifically to keep teachers in San Francisco given the prohibitive cost of living.
What strategy will you pursue to ensure that teachers are able to remain housed in San Francisco?
Respuestas en español aquí.
Joshua Arce, civil rights attorney and Community Liaison for Laborers Local 261
We have an affordability crisis in our city. This crisis has been caused by a decade of failure to meet demand for housing, and almost no construction of new affordable housing in our district.
How can you dedicate affordable housing to teachers (or anyone) when not a single unit of housing affordable for working families has been built in our community over the last 7 years? That is the real problem we are facing.
The legislation introduced earlier this year put an important pause on a few evictions but did nothing to stop the displacement so many working families are facing.
Our affordability crisis is affecting all of the people that our city relies on, such as: teachers, firefighters, nurses, construction workers and small business owners to name just a few.
We need to put an end to the “all talk” approach which has defined these issues in recent years, and start actually building the housing that our local families so desperately need.
We need a Supervisor that is going to deliver results for all of us.
Iswari España, Training Officer with the San Francisco Human Services Agency
I have come to the conclusion that on issues of gentrification and displacement the City tends to favor developers and lobbyists and never the community. Our teachers under this current market have been hit the hardest. We have forgotten that they are a vital component of community as they shape and form the lives of our children. I have great respect for them, growing up in a household with teachers. Creating legislation to protect them from eviction is a step but not a solution. The bottom line, teachers need more compensation for the work they perform. Market rates are not accommodating to teachers’ lack of income. Therefore, I propose a salary increase of 8% and a realistic cost of living increase of 6% yearly. In addition, set aside community housing exclusively for teachers through land dedication. Only when we start investing in our school and educational systems, the community will grow as a whole.
Edwin Lindo, Vice-President of External Affairs at the Latino Democratic Club
I will fight for building affordable housing specifically for teachers and support them receiving a higher salary so our teachers can afford to live in San Francisco.
David Campos’ legislation is great and I support it, but we must seek ways to prevent teachers from being evicted all year around. Like Officers and Firefighters, out teachers are first responders for our children and deserve to be treated as such.
We must ensure that teachers can qualify for the current affordable housing and that down-payment assistance is available and increased when teachers look to buy.
Hillary Ronen, Chief of Staff for Supervisor David Campos
As one of the authors of the Eviction Protection for Teachers Legislation I know the seriousness of the teacher shortage caused by high housing costs and low teacher salaries.
I’ve worked closely with teachers for over a decade and am proud to have received the sole endorsements of both our San Francisco Public School Teachers and our City College Faculty.
- First and foremost give teachers a raise – as Supervisor I will be an outspoken advocate for livable salaries for teachers.
- Be laser focused on building housing in District 9 that’s affordable on teacher’s salaries and reserve units specifically for educators.
- Place a city attorney in our school system whose job is to defend educators facing evictions and unfair rent hikes.
Melissa San Miguel, education advocate
Communities of color, women and young people have often been disenfranchised and forgotten by our political system. We’ve had to fight for equality and equity in areas like housing, education, and job opportunities. As Supervisor, I will work on tackling the systemic barriers that make it difficult for these communities, my communities, to live and thrive.
As a member of the Democratic County Central Committee, I will tackle the barriers to our political enfranchisement. I have seen firsthand how young people and women do most of the important and hard political work, like registering voters and setting up actions, and receive few leadership opportunities or an actual seat at the table. I will work to engage and register our young people who are part of my generation and include those who work in tech; promote the next generation of women leaders and people of color; and support SF policies that serve our underserved communities. My work on the DCCC will continue my efforts to empower communities in all facets of our lives.
43 Questions is a weekly series — started 43 weeks before Election Day — to question the candidates running for District 9 supervisor. Send us questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know in comments or in an email if you think candidates have answered as asked.