California teachers struggle to find affordable housing

LOS GATOS, Calif. (KPIX) – Housing prices in California’s Bay Area are some of the highest in the nation. And for school teachers that can make things really tough. So the board of supervisors held a town hall to look for solutions.

Cameron Clarno’s been a teacher for more than fifteen years. “It’s a great job, it’s a great community,” he said. And when the Los Gatos Union School District offered him a choir and music teacher position: “I jumped at the chance to take it.”

He packed up his family and left his job in Redding but his wife and two young children didn’t come with him. “I’ve been here the last month and a half,” he explained.

Cameron said he couldn’t find an apartment he could afford so he moved into an RV and now jumps from county park to county park while his family lives with relatives several hours away. “And it’s… it’s hard just because you know they’re my life,” he said.

Cameron was one of many teachers who told their story of struggle to a panel of people ranging from the Santa Clara County superintendent of schools, to a Facebook manager, and County Board President Joe Simitian, who said, “I grew up as the son of two school teachers.”

Joe organized the town hall and is looking for solutions to build more housing for teachers who work in the county’s 31 districts. “We’re going to need to find properties,” Joe explained. “We’re going to find investors in these projects and my hope is that when people listen to the individual stories of the individual teachers they’ll understand this is real. The problem is widespread”

Cameron, like his peers, said it’s only fair to be able to afford to live in the community they’re working in and impacting lives. “We go into this not for the money we go into it because we love kids and we love the fact that we get to change a new generation,” Cameron said.

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