Help Kids Walk to School

Wouldn't it be wonderful to grow up in a community designed with kids in mind, with your school and school friends right nearby?

You can help us launch the Homes Near School movement to make this a reality for young families.

Help reach out to homeowners near schools, to lenders who can finance new apartments, to zoning authorities to encourage family housing. Together we can also help build equity for young families for a starter home.

 I got this idea after years of hunting for an affordable home near schools, so our kids wouldn't have to take long city bus rides to get to school or to their friends' homes.

 How funds will be used.

- Promotion. Outreach for support from social impact funds and non-profits in family and education areas. Outreach to school boards, homeowners, realtors, city planners, and mortgage lenders. Get media publicity.

- Build a website. I've registered some domain names like homenearschool.com

- Build a database of optimal home-near-school locations.

- Legal advice. Draw up leasehold agreements for young families, set up a tax-exempt foundation

- The aim is for the project to be self-financing. This campaign is for seed money to get the ball rolling, and also for moral support, to see if a lot of other people like the idea, and Giving Tuesday  was an opportune occasion. Contributions of helpful comments can be as valuable as monetary ones!  So small contributions and feedback are very welcome.

The benefits of this movement could be enormous. 

It's hard to calculate the value of a happy childhood. We do know that teenage problems like dropping out, drug abuse, alienation and even in the worst case school shootings are often related to loneliness. We all need a healthy amount of face-to-face social interaction with our peers. 

Living near school means a load off Moms and off the family car and carbon footprint, too. Neighbors can share babysitting tasks, making it easier for Moms to juggle work and family. Homes near school for teachers is also an interesting idea.

 There seems to be no other project like this one.

Certainly no public housing program with such a mission exists. There are programs for seniors, homeless, veterans, disabled, disadvantaged, and so on. But there is very little for families with kids, and nothing at all for homes near school. One reason may be that  publicly funded affordable housing is actually not affordable at all -- it costs almost twice as much to build as private housing, and funding is only available to very large operators. I know because I tried to launch this project that way. They say the high cost is due to the enormous burden of rules and paperwork to submit plans that might not even be approved.

 We can do this more efficiently and self-sufficiently. Young families who can afford it will buy their homes. Those that can't may be able to rent a home, or  they may invest in a leasehold of about 10 years on a home. This could work like a starter home. At the end of their lease, they can sell their leasehold rights to the next family, obtaining a down payment to buy their own home.

We will reach out to all types of actors in the housing market -- landlords and property managers, homeowners and realtors, lenders and community agencies, to help build these communities. We are based in San Diego where there is a great need for affordable housing.

Another innovative solution to affordability, and not only for young families, can be a hybrid approach, with two homes on one lot. The second one can be an ADU, and both can be manufactured homes for affordability. On smaller lots we need to get regulators to allow duplex designs.  
The affordability crisis  is often blamed on short term rentals, but the income they provide can often help families to make rent or mortgage payments on their home, by sharing part of their property with guests. 
For example,  a new campus for Joshua Tree Elementary School was built outside the town a few years ago, so almost all kids in the district have to come by bus or car. There are only a few houses near the school, and many of these have been turned into AirBnbs, a trend that has impacted affordable housing availability in the area. Yet there is an opportunity here to develop new homes for families near the school.  We could push for a project to build manufactured homes and ADUs close to schools like JTES. 

 Volunteers welcome

More hands are needed -- even more than donations! Outreach to potential partners, networking, web design, you name it -- "it takes a village to build a village"... Please contact us at home at homenearschool com . Thank you!

Shares, likes, comments and feedback are much appreciated too! A HomeNearSchool Facebook page is under construction as well.
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Your donation is the start of John Leonard's journey to success. Your early support inspires others to donate.

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Fundraising team (2)

John Leonard 
Organizer
San Diego, CA
Adriana Leonard 
Team member