Proposed ‘Teacher Village’ would create affordable housing for CMS teachers

CHARLOTTE — A new program aims to provide more affordable housing to teachers in the Charlotte area.

Melissa Easley moved to Charlotte in 2011 and taught at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

“My first couple paychecks were so small. I didn’t have enough for a first month’s deposit,” she said.

She said for the first five months, she was homeless and lived in a hotel. Now, she sits on the school board advocating for affordable housing for teachers.

“This is something we’ve been working on for a long time,” Easley said. “Working in partnership with the county, with the city, and CMS school board.”

Easley is referring to the “Teacher’s Village.” On Monday, Charlotte City Council proposed $1 million to fund the project. It will include 100 housing units with common spaces that service and support teachers’ needs.

“Let them focus on what they’re hired to do, which is to develop the young minds at our school systems,” said Councilman James Mitchell.

CMS teachers start out making under $47,000 a year. When you compare that to the median home price in the county, Easley said teachers are faced with a housing crisis.

“The average home is $432,000. An average teacher cannot buy a home and create wealth and grow as citizens and human beings because of the state lacking in pay,” she said.

In just days, city council will vote on the proposal. Councilman Mitchell said he’s already looking forward to the outcome.

“We’re going to earmark a million dollars,” he said. “So we’re going to have skin in the game and we’re committed.”

“All of our representatives coming together and say ‘yes we’re going to help our educators’ is so inspiring to keep fighting for what we need to do, and to make sure that Raleigh does what they need to do,” Easley said.

Easley said while this concept would alleviate some of the financial burdens teachers face, this does not fix the issue of low teacher pay.

The 100-unit “Teacher’s Village” will be located on CMS land. The proposal is still in the early stages, so there aren’t many details about it available at this point.

CMS Board Chair Stephanie Sneed shared a statement in support of the project, calling it a “unique and innovative opportunity.”

“At CMS there is limited capacity to increase salaries for our employees and therefore we must seek alternative methods in order to recruit and retain those that are charged with educating and shaping the future of our young scholars,” Sneed said. “The housing crisis that many face in Charlotte is also impacting our ability to retain and recruit teachers, as they simply are not able to afford housing within Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, without supplemental income. This pilot is a unique and innovative opportunity to support our teachers who support our students and families.”

Officials hope to have the building completed and live-in ready by April 2027.

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Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

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