Survey: Even before recent spikes, most Palm Beach County teachers worried about housing costs

The Palm Beach Post | By Andrew Marra | March 7, 20232

Palm Beach County’s teachers were worried about being able to afford housing even before the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a nationwide housing crisis.

County school board members this week learned the results of a 2019 survey of more than 1,000 of the school district’s teachers.

About 80% of the respondents said they were somewhat or very concerned about their ability to afford to stay in their jobs because of the rising costs of housing, according to a presentation Wednesday by district and county officials.

More than 65% said they would like to own a home someday.

At the time, the median sale price of a home in the county was $355,000.

Today it’s about $545,000.

The average teacher salary for the district’s teachers was about $56,000 in September.

Programs can help with housing costs, but 75% weren’t aware of them

But as everyone now knows, huge increases in house prices and rents were on their way, thanks in large part to supply-chain problems and an influx of new residents from northern states prompted by the pandemic.

The survey, conducted in 2019 as part of a partnership between the district and the Housing Leadership Council of Palm Beach County, was summarized for board members this week as part of a presentation on the county’s efforts to provide affordable housing for middle-class workers.

One of county leaders’ aims: to make public school employees aware of some of the programs the county government offers, such as discounted apartments for middle-class workers, subsidy programs to help with home down payments and housing counseling.

 The 2019 survey found 75% of teachers were not familiar with most such programs.

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