DENVER, JUNE 10, 2019 – In an effort to attract and support excellent teachers, Teach For America Colorado and Silvernest have partnered to launch an affordable housing pilot for educators. Through the Silvernest platform, educators will be matched with homeowners who are interested in renting out unused space in their homes at a discounted rate.
The challenges facing educators across the country are exacerbated in Colorado due to low teacher pay and high cost of living. Even after an historic 12% average bump in teacher compensation in Denver Public Schools, the very top of the salary scale still doesn’t reach median household income in Denver. This, combined with continually decreasing enrollment in Colorado teacher preparatory programs, creates a landscape of shortage and uncertainty for Colorado students, families and schools.
While public salary schedules and affordable housing can be addressed through policy change, this can take years to implement. Teach For America Colorado and Silvernest aim to quickly test the power of community by addressing barriers to the teaching profession, while advocating for increased teacher pay. This shared-living model provides extra income for the homeowner, while giving teachers access to a secure, comfortable space in the communities where they teach. It also creates a way for homeowners to meaningfully contribute to the success of public schools and the broader community.
“I feel so grateful to be living in a community where my neighbors are willing to support teachers like me in achieving our dreams,” said Sooyoung Matthews, an incoming Teach For America Colorado elementary school educator. “A community that cares about teachers is a community that cares about students and schools,” reflected Phebe Martin, who like Sooyoung, will be in the classroom for the first time this fall.
“Leaders like Phebe and Sooyoung, who believe in the potential of every child, are exactly the kind of teachers Denver students need and deserve, and they’re increasingly difficult to come by because of high cost of living and low teacher pay,” says Damion LeeNatali, Executive Director of Teach For America Colorado. “We deeply believe that educators should be paid more, but given that we do not directly employ our educators or set their salaries, exploring innovative solutions with partners like Silvernest could be game changing.”
“Through this partnership, we’re aiming to address the financial barriers to entry for the teaching profession and enable more qualified educators to live in the areas that they serve,” said Wendi Burkhardt, CEO of Silvernest. “But beyond that, our hope is to foster intergenerational homesharing as a means to enrich the lives of the participants, and benefit the community as a whole.”
The pilot will start matching homeowners with educators via the Silvernest online platform as early as June 1, in time for the start of the 2019/2020 school year.
If you would like more information about the Teach For America Colorado + Silvernest affordable homesharing pilot, please contact Emily Williams at Emily.Williams@teachforamerica.org
Teach For America Colorado works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Since 2007, Teach for America Colorado has grown a network of exceptional leaders in education that is now more than 1,700 strong. Teach For America Colorado has placed nearly 700 talented leaders into classrooms across Colorado, reaching more than 36,000 children a day. Today, 1 in 9 Denver teachers and 1 in 6 Denver school leaders are Teach For America members.
Together with our community of supporters and partners, Teach For America members are finding promising new solutions to our biggest problems today, while empowering our kids to become the exceptional leaders we need for a vibrant and thriving tomorrow.
Silvernest is an online home sharing service that pairs aging homeowners with qualified housemates, giving Baby Boomers and empty nesters an aging-in-place alternative. Through its roommate-matching, lease management and localized support services, Silvernest combines the tools, expertise and commitment to provide the industry's first comprehensive home sharing platform. This hassle-free service takes care of the details, providing peace-of-mind by enabling people to stay in their homes, while benefiting from increased income and shared experiences. Denver-based Silvernest has been called a company to watch. Visit us online at www.silvernest.com, check out our blog, or follow us Facebook and Twitter.