Affordable Housing on School Campuses

The decision of the Westchester County Board of Legislators to approve a housing settlement with the federal government to build hundreds of affordable units of housing in wealthier neighborhoods should be followed up with some innovative, new thinking in order to reduce the possibility of opposition to the implementation of the agreement.

I would like to propose that school districts and colleges with surplus land consider building affordable housing for teachers and school staff on their campuses. Many exclusive private schools already have affordable housing for teachers and staff on their campuses. These apartments help the schools attract better teachers. At the same time, if educators are living on campus, they are more likely to devote time helping students during after hours with school-related projects, clubs, sports activities. This suggestion can be a win-win for everyone. The schools get better teachers. Currently, few teachers can afford to live near the schools they teach at because Westchester is so unaffordable. Some of the better teachers are choosing schools in other counties or states. The teachers win because they get affordable housing in a great county. The children win because teachers will have more time to spend helping them. Better schools enhance property values so the homeowners win too!

Westchester County could also provide some financial incentives to schools that agree to build affordable housing on campus.

It’s my hope that the community and elected officials will work together to make affordable housing happen with the least amount of controversy.

Paul Feiner
Greenburgh Town Supervisor

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