An empty, abandoned parking lot on 10333 N. Wolfe Road in Cupertino, where affordable teacher housing will be.
Santa Clara County secured developer Eden Housing to construct affordable teacher and school worker housing in Cupertino. Photo by Annalise Freimarck.

Living as a teacher in the West Valley may become cheaper as more affordable housing is prioritized for educators.

The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors earlier this month unanimously approved a proposal from developer Eden Housing to build affordable teacher and school worker housing in Cupertino. The move aims to address the county’s high cost of living that has locked educators out of the home-buying market. The project, located at 10333 N. Wolfe Road, will sit on approximately five acres of land owned by Apple.

The site can fit up to 257 apartments and homes and could include other kinds of affordable housing, according to Eden Housing. The number of homes dedicated to educators, rents, financing and cost of construction are still undetermined. Eden Housing aims to have an approved development plan by the end of this year, with construction slated for 2026 and a move-in date of 2028, according to the county.

Supervisor Joe Simitian, who represents District 5, has supported the project in a push backed by Supervisor Otto Lee to help what he calls the missing middle — residents, like teachers, who don’t qualify for subsidized housing and are barely scraping by. District 5 includes Palo Alto, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Los Altos, Cupertino, Saratoga and Los Gatos.

Simitian, a son of two public school teachers, said some educators have to commute two hours from the Central Valley, leaving them less time to devote to their students.

“I think there has been a growing realization that teacher housing for our educators is a really significant tool that we can use to attract and retain good folks and keep our schools strong and serve kids better,” he told San José Spotlight.

On average, teachers in Cupertino make roughly $68,548 annually, compared to teachers in the county overall who make roughly $65,877 per year, according to 2023 data from Glassdoor.

County supervisors approved the project in 2022 and selected the site last year, exchanging a roughly 1.5-acre site at 10591 N. De Anza Blvd. for the parcel with Apple.

In 2022, the board unanimously approved Simitian’s 2018 proposal to develop affordable teacher housing in Palo Alto. The 110-apartment project, located at 231 Grant Ave., was funded in part by a $25-million donation from tech giant Meta, Facebook’s parent company, and began construction last year. It’s expected to be completed in April 2025.

Andrea Osgood, chief of real estate development for Eden Housing, said she hopes the project will help school districts retain and attract teachers.

“It’s harder and harder to find teachers who want to work in these communities because they look at it and (say) ‘Oh, this sounds great,’ but then when they look to try and find a place to live, they can’t find a place,” she told San José Spotlight. “It’s become a real challenge for employers.”

School districts and municipalities in the county are also working toward affordable teacher housing, with some facing road blocks. Last month, the Alum Rock Union School District board of trustees designated three acres for workforce housing after voters agreed to change Measure J language in 2022. The Milpitas City Council voted last year to build 75 affordable apartments, the majority designated to Milpitas Unified School District employees.

Eden Housing and Santa Clara County will reach out to residents over the next few months for feedback on the project.

Simitian said he is hopeful the project integrates more teachers into the communities where they work.

“When school staff, including teachers, live in a community, they understand the dynamics of that community so much better,” he said. “I don’t think any of us are well served by school staff members feeling like they are visitors to the place where they work.”

Contact Annalise Freimarck at [email protected] or follow @annalise_ellen on X, formerly known as Twitter.

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