An editorial from The Mountaineer of Waynesville:
An opportunity to create affordable teacher housing in Haywood County is one that ought to be seized. The program as outlined by the State Employees Credit Union offers zero percentage loans to nonprofit organizations that pledge to build and manage apartment units until the loan is paid. At that point, the development reverts to the local public school district.
Locally, the Haywood County Schools Foundation is investigating partnering with the credit union to build units in the county.
Beginning teachers, who most likely will be paying off both vehicle and student loans, would jump at the chance to have a place to rent within their income range.
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As important as the affordable rents is the synergy that new teachers who would likely be working at different schools across the county could gain by being neighbors.
As these professionals find their way in a new career, think of the opportunities to share techniques they have learned, the trial and error lessons that have worked or the tips they pick up in their schools and disciplines.
Anyone who has tried to find housing in Haywood can attest to the shortage of rentals available. Both a need for rentals and the willingness of teachers to occupy a dedicated development are requirements for the credit union process.
The program can deliver cost-effective units not only because of the no-interest loan, but also because of a standard set of designs that can be tailored to meet the needs in any community in the state. There are designs for six-, 12- and 24-unit complexes.
School foundation officials agree that to build a unit for a price that beginning teachers can afford, it must be on land already owned by the school district or on land donated.
Anyone who has a passion for education, a heart for giving and about 3 acres of land they would be willing to donate could create a legacy that would impact Haywood for years to come.
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