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NEA Issue Explainer

Affordable Housing and the Unhoused

The shortage of affordable housing is pushing more students and families into homelessness and making it impossible for educators to live in the communities where they work.
Family with moving boxes - affordable housing Adobe Stock / Rido
Published: August 25, 2022
This issue explainer originally appeared on

Where affordable housing is in short supply, educators are in short supply. Students and their families struggle to find decent places to live. The affordable housing crisis is exacerbating the national educator shortage and putting more students at risk of losing their homes.  

When students have stable, safe places to live, they have the security that helps them thrive. When educators have affordable housing and homeownership opportunities, they can invest more time in supporting, instructing, and inspiring our students.  

The educator shortage has worsened since the pandemic. Not being able to afford a decent place to live —a consequence of inadequate educator pay—is one of the major reasons so many schools don’t have enough teachers, counselors, school bus drivers, and other staff members.  

At the height of the pandemic, a national moratorium on most evictions allowed many families to stay in their homes even if they couldn’t afford to pay rent. However, that temporary measure has ended.  

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, no state in America has enough affordable rental housing to meet the needs of the lowest-income renters.    

We must do more to ensure that educators, students, and families can find decent, affordable housing.

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