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Letter sent to HUD about expanding the Teacher Next Door program

April 16, 2007

Dear Secretary Jackson:


On behalf of the National Education Association's (NEA) 3.2 million members, we would like to urge your consideration of expanding HUD's Teacher Next Door program to include teachers working in Head Start centers and child development programs, as well as all education support professionals. We would also encourage to expand the program in high cost areas. 

NEA strongly supports the Teacher Next Door initiative, which enables dedicated teachers to live and participate in the same community in which they work. Teachers living in the neighborhood can serve as mentors, role models, and links between the classroom and the community. 

The Teacher Next Door program recognizes that many teachers cannot afford to purchase homes near their schools. Unfortunately, many education support professionals and teachers in Head Start and other preschool and child care programs also face financial barriers to homeownership. Expanding the Teacher Next Door program to include these valuable professionals would help benefit their communities while recognizing their important contributions to the education of our nation's children. In addition, expanding the program in areas with particularly high housing costs would help ensure that educators can live in and become integral parts of the communities in which they work. 

We thank you for your attention to this issue.

Sincerely,

Diane Shust, Director of Government Relations

Randall Moody, Manager of Federal Advocacy