NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Community volunteers worked to transform a home for two early childhood educators on Wednesday, with the help of the Friends Center for Children of New Haven.
These newly built, furnished and decorated homes are all part of the Friends Center for Children Teacher Housing Initiative. The two future residents currently work at the center and will get to live in the homes rent-free.
“Today is furnishing day, which is when the community comes together to donate all this amazing furniture and create a home for them,” said Allyx Schiavone, the executive director of Friends Center for Children.
The Friends Center for Children is an early education center that serves kids and families. Officials said that the purpose of the teacher housing program is to enhance teacher salaries across the state.
“We live in a state where the average salary is $34,500 for an early education teacher,” Schiavone said. “That is woefully inefficient.”
The single-family home will be shared by two teachers. Organizers said one teacher will live upstairs, the other downstairs. Both families will share a kitchen.
The volunteers spent Wednesday filling cabinets with spices and baking materials to make the walls feel more like home.
“To have a place to go home to every day and know there’s stability there allows you to deal with so much else in your life,” said Maureen Lopes, a volunteer.
The Yale School of Architecture designed and built the home to allow teachers to save money and ultimately purchase their own house.
“They spent the better part of a year listening to and learning from the teachers, and then creating a space for them,” Schiavone said.
Move-in day for these teachers is set for next week. In the meantime, officials said four more houses are already slated for construction in the surrounding area.