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The real estate of public schools could be an important piece of the solution to the affordable housing crisis in California. The State of California has 10,668 free sites, made up of 10,521 K-12 public schools, 114 community colleges, 23 state colleges, and 10 university campuses. A new report from The UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate looks at how these sites could provide space for affordable housing development, particularly for teachers and students, demographic groups that are often the most susceptible to rent increases.

“We have to address the affordable housing crisis from as many directions as we possible can. I am particularly focused on looking at ways that we don’t displace anyone directly at least, and in direct displacement also,” Dana Cuff, director at CityLAB – UCLA and the author of the paper, tells GlobeSt.com.

According to Cuff, after preliminary research, these sites seemed like obviously places for affordable housing. They are already available, free spaces and are evenly spread throughout the state. “After we were successful in doing some design research, it seemed like one of the obvious, hidden-in-plain site locations were the more than 10,000 schools that we have across the State of California, which are pretty evenly distributed throughout the state,” she says. “Thousands of affordable units could be built without removing any recreational space on the school sites.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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