CAPITOLA — A San Francisco company that helps teachers purchase homes got a boost recently with a $500,000 investment by Community Foundation Santa Cruz County.
That company is Landed, which has already helped 50 teachers throughout the Bay Area since its founding in 2015. Four of these are in Santa Cruz County.
“The program is working,” said Landed Director of Partnerships Ian Magruder. “Teachers are buying homes, and investment is coming in to help more teachers.”
The program covers about 50 percent of a down payment for teachers, up to $120,000. Teachers must provide 10 percent.
In return, the company keeps about 25 percent of the home’s equity, Magruder said.
That money goes back into the program, and the company takes a percentage of the brokerage fees, he said.
Landed officials say the average amount invested in each of the Santa Cruz County homes is about $70,000. The $500,000 investment, therefore, could help six to eight educators.
One teacher who benefitted from the program is Christina Canavan, who has taught at New Brighton Middle School for nine years.
Two of her children have attended the school, and her third-grader is on his way.
Canavan has done her utmost to make a home in Santa Cruz County, but high housing costs were almost her undoing, she said.
A quest to purchase a home nearly forced her to move to Silicon Valley, where teacher salaries are higher.
That changed when she learned about Landed.
She recently closed on a three-bedroom home in Capitola, thanks to down payment assistance.
“Now I’m living and teaching in my community, where my kids go to school,” she said. “I was going to have to move to San Jose.”
At a Tuesday morning press conference, representatives from Landed joined Santa Cruz County education officials to announce the investment by the Community Foundation.
Santa Cruz County Superintendent of Schools Michael Watkins said the program could help address the “significant” teacher shortage by making it easier to choose and stay in that profession.
“I know first-hand how difficult it is to live in this community,” he said.
The program is available to all teachers, administrators, and staff in Santa Cruz County who have worked for a public school or district in the county for at least two years.
Community Foundation CEO Susan True said the organization will continue to seek solutions to high housing costs.
“Community Foundation Santa Cruz County is investing in teachers, because they invest in kids every day,” she said.
Landed will hold an informational session about the teacher home buying program on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the boardroom of the PVUSD headquarters at 292 Green Valley Road.
A second session is scheduled for May 2 at 4 p.m. at the Santa Cruz County Office of Education at 400 Encinal St. in Santa Cruz.
For information, visit landed.com.