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Salinas Union High School District getting closer to opening of workforce housing project

SALINAS, CALIF. (KION-TV)- Salinas Union High School District is slowly progressing toward affordable housing for staff members.

It's something that’s been years in the making that benefits everyone, according to Superintendent Dan Burns.

“This has become a product we see as an opportunity to not only recruit and retain staff but have them live here locally so that they can work and spend their taxpayer's dollars in the local community as well,” Burns said. “Which also has an impact on supporting our local economy.”

This new housing project will be located on Abbott Street.

The district has 50 units available, ranging from a studio and one bath to two bedrooms and two baths.

There are specific requirements to qualify and priorities between full-time and part-time employees, but this hasn’t held back the number of people applying for these units.

“We had over 200 people submit interest letters to us,” Burns said. “So going through a process, we had an outside committee work on eligibility requirements so that we could take into account all the different types of economic factors we have in our city and in our county.”

Kati Bassler of the Salinas Valley Federation of Teachers is part of that committee representing the staff in the district.

She and the staff are behind the project and the goals it has in mind.

“So both the short-term fix for offering housing, but it's a long-term investment in the community so that members are able to save money and hopefully get a down payment such that they can buy a home,” Bassler said. “I think that it is essential that school districts and, well, employers, as they plan staffing, they've got to help with housing and benefits.”

Some parts of the lease agreement that will be discussed tonight for those who will get a unit include the cost of 70% below market value, and the maximum length a tenant can stay is five years.

The district will hold a lottery to decide who will get the units. Five of the 50 units will be used for recruitment.

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Karl Cooke

Karl Cooke is a Multimedia Journalist for KION News Channel 46


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