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School District Partners With Startup To Help Teachers Buy Homes

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The West Contra Costa Unified School District is teaming up with a San Francisco startup company to ease the burden of home down payments for its teachers.

The school district said it loses about 15 percent of its teaching force each year and the partnership with the startup Landed will improve retention. The San Francisco-based company says it will pay half of the down payment on a home, up to $120,000, and teachers are responsible for the other half.

If the down payment is $160,000, for example, the teacher will pay $80,000 and Landed will pay $80,000. The teacher's payment can be sourced from loans, as long as they are able to pay at least 10 percent of their half. The teacher can also take less than a 50 percent loan.

When the home is sold, Landed shares 25 percent of the sale whether the property rises or falls in value. If the teacher does not want to sell their home, they will have to repay Landed between 10 to 30 years after the initial investment.

Landed is backed by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, angel and venture capital investors and other large foundations.

Spanish teacher and union president Demetrio Gonzalez lives with three roommates, all teachers in the district.

He says living together is the only way they can afford to do what they love.

"We currently live paycheck to paycheck, because that's the only way we can afford being a teacher in the Bay Area," said Gonzalez. "Most of our teachers leave in years 3 and 5. And I lot of them are leaving because of the housing crisis."

Matthew Duffy, superintendent of the school district, said Richmond is one of the few places in the Bay Area where home buying is still relatively affordable.

The district has hired more than 800 teachers in the last four years but said it is struggling to keep its educators.

"Having half of your down payment taken care of is a huge incentive, said Duffy. "This is just one of the innovative opportunities we have worked on to assist our teachers to stay in our communities and continue to help our students thrive."

Gonzalez plans to apply for the program.  He thinks there'll be a lot of interest among the 1,500 teachers in the district.

"We've done the math, it's going to take forever for us to be able to afford the down payment," said Gonzalez. "So we're hoping that we'll be some of the first ones to access some of these programs."

The district will host a teacher housing fair from 4 to 6 p.m. Monday at DeJean Middle School at 3400 MacDonald Ave. in Richmond.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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