Most teachers can't afford to live where they work, according to a new study.
Research from the University of NSW found that more than 90 per cent of NSW teachers are priced out of living in the communities they teach.
For early career teachers this situation is particularly dire with 675 schools in areas where the median rent for a one-bedroom place is unaffordable on a graduate teacher salary.
Living in the same community where you work serves a significant relationship building role, according to the author of the study and deputy director of the Gonski Institute for Education professor Scott Eacott.
"It is much easier to build connections. There's a relationship aspect to it between educators and students, if you have an understanding of and live in the area," he said.
"In previous research we found the respect the community had for educators who lived in the area, who didn't just fly in, fly out, that were actually part of the community. Because their future was at stake in the things that happened."
Housing is considered unaffordable if a person spends more than 30 per cent of their income on housing costs.
Even for experienced teachers at the top of the pay scale affordability was a concern. The study found that 70 schools and around 2,000 full-time roles were in areas where a single-bedroom dwelling was out of reach.
Professor Eacott said it's a situation that could result in massive social inequity if left unaddressed.
"We're all competing for talent in a teacher shortage situation and there's a great potential inequity if nothing is done about it," he said.
"Otherwise you'll end up with the most well off schools being able to supplement the incomes of their staff."
Some projections indicate that NSW will need 13,000 more teachers in the next decade to meet student demand.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said teacher salaries should be enough to ensure housing for educators.
"What we need is teacher salaries to increase to be more competitive with other comparable professions.
"That's important, not only because of the relief it would offer in terms of the housing crisis but also important with respect to recruiting and retaining the teachers we need," he said.
Teachers aren't the only essential workers struggling in the housing market.
Research by University of Sydney lecturer in architecture and planning Dr Catherine Gilbert found housing affordability for police, nurses, cleaners and other essential workers in capital cities was worsening.
"There is a spatial problem that's worsening between where key worker services are needed and where they can actually afford to live," she said.
"Particularly for people in some frontline healthcare roles, emergency services, and in some community welfare support roles, like crisis counseling, those people actually need to be physically close to work just so that they can actually be on call and respond to emergency situations."
The study found there are now no local government areas (LGAs) across Sydney or Melbourne with a median price that's affordable to an early career registered nurse.
And only two LGAs have a median house price affordable to an early career police constable.
"Even historically more affordable outer suburbs and places like Geelong, the central coast, the Illawarra, places that were historically quite affordable for moderate income essential workers, those places now are becoming unaffordable," Dr Gilbert said.
"I think that's probably one of the most worrying trends."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The NSW government is trialling a two-year $780 million shared equity scheme to help essential workers enter the housing market. This scheme will allow up to 6,000 eligible workers and low-income households to own their own homes with a minimum two per cent deposit.
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