New Affordable Housing Development for Teachers in Cupertino


For teachers who have to drive long distances to get to work, the new cost-effective housing development plan in Cupertino could allow some of the district’s teachers to reside in the community where they work, easing the long, inefficient commute. 

Santa Clara County Supervisors Joe Simitian and Otto Lee proposed the housing development project with the intention of facilitating providing affordable accommodations for teachers and staff who cannot afford to live near their respective schools due to exorbitant housing costs. According to the proposal, the county has recently sanctioned the purchase of an unoccupied 5-acre tract situated at 10333 North Wolfe Road adjacent to Apple Park, owned by Apple. The lot’s size is adequate to construct residences for 75 to 100 staff members.

Said Simitian, regarding this plan, “We’re still in the early stages of developing a plan for the project and will have more details as the development takes shape. To make something like this work we need three things: a piece of dirt, funding and community support.” 

With the site approved, Simitian plans on working with a developer, school districts, local school teachers and staff, city government, neighborhoods, members of the community and other organizations or individuals that can help pull everything together. 

Conducting town hall assemblies for educators impacted by the housing predicament in 2018 and 2019, Simitian was motivated to put forth a teacher housing development initiative in Palo Alto. “Hundreds of teachers came to these town halls and shared very personal stories of the struggles they faced to make ends meet while trying to ‘be there’ for their students. It really was heartbreaking, and I thought surely, there must be something we can do. And there is,” said Simitian. After seeing the progress of that project, Simitian decided to propose another plan for West Valley.

The high living cost in Santa Clara County, especially in Cupertino, makes it increasingly difficult for teachers and staff to reside in the area. As a result, some teachers live in areas where living costs are more affordable distances to their workplaces. 

When asked about the cons of having to commute long distances to school, Spanish 4 Honors teacher Kiki Canton said, “The con is obviously the time spent just in terms of productivity. […] A con could also be, of course, you know, gas prices or wear and tear on your car. It’s expensive.”

With the new housing plan comes different obstacles: the development takes more time than expected and funding from various partnerships or sources is needed. 

Although there are possible obstacles, Simitian hopes that the outcome of the project will be worth it. Said Simitian, “No one wins when local teachers and school employees have to commute from miles and miles away. […] By having teachers and school staff work and live nearby, I hope this project helps strengthen their role in the community, and makes it easier to retain the topflight talent that has made our schools some of the very best in the nation.”