United Way of the Midlands Partners with Fairfield County School District Education Foundation to Create Housing for Teachers
United Way of the Midlands and the Fairfield County School District Education Foundation unveiled Fairfield County’s newest housing development designed to tackle the pervasive challenge of affordable housing for educators.
United Way of the Midlands has invested $600,000 in the Fairfield County School District Education Foundation for The Village.
The Village will provide 16 three-bedroom homes with affordable rents in Phase One with a total of 30 homes in future expansion. Priority for these single-family homes will be given to certified teachers and then school district personnel. The Village is an example of Fairfield County School District Education Foundation's innovative approach to bringing quality, beautiful homes with affordability to retain teachers in rural areas.
"The Village Initiative has come to fruition in Fairfield County because of a major team effort: the school district provided the land (22 acres); the major business-Dominion Energy provided a large portion of the funds from an earmark settlement with the county; the county and city councils approved a significant property tax exemption; and the state legislature provided recruitment and retention funds, which allows the Foundation to charge rents well below market rates,” said Sue Rex, Ph.D., Chair of the Fairfield County School District Education Foundation.
The Village offers certified teachers an opportunity to rent a three-bedroom/two-bathroom home close to their school and part of the Winnsboro community. This will be the first residential teacher community in South Carolina and will hopefully serve as a model for other rural districts in the state and across the nation. Teachers will have the opportunity to support each other professionally and emotionally. The University of South Carolina's College of Education will be renting a home for interested education majors to live and learn from a village of educators. The university's involvement opens recruitment possibilities for the district.
The development of The Village complements one of United Way of the Midlands’ goals of increasing options for quality housing through one-time seed funding.
“We recognize the critical role that affordable housing plays in ensuring teacher retention and the overall success of our schools,” said Sara Fawcett, President & CEO of United Way of the Midlands. “By investing in Fairfield County Education Foundation's project, we are taking a proactive approach to address the housing challenges faced by educators, enabling them to focus on what they do best: educating our children and shaping the future of our community.”
The cost of Phase One is four million dollars, and the teachers will be able to move into The Village in the summer of 2024.
Funding supporting this partnership came from the generous gift of $10 million to United Way of the Midlands from author and philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. It is the largest gift from an individual donor in the organization’s history. In 2021, United Way’s Board approved a spending plan for the gift, including significant investments in innovative housing across our six-county region. To learn more about United Way’s strategies for housing and community needs please visit uway.org/impact.
About Fairfield County School District Education Foundation
The Fairfield County School District Education Foundation's mission is to support the Fairfield School District, its teachers, and its students. Because recruiting and retaining outstanding teachers in Fairfield County was identified as a major goal, the Foundation has spent the last several years working with the stakeholders in Fairfield County to make this goal a reality. For more information, please visit www.fcsded.org.