July 31, 2019
When Ron Beit wanted to build a residential development from the ground up in Newark, all he heard was that it couldn’t work. But Beit saw an opportunity to confront a major problem in Newark: only a small fraction of teachers can afford to live close to the schools they work in. Reflecting on his motivations, Beit says, “I knew this was the future. I knew people were wrong about this city.” A year after its completion, Beit’s success with Teachers Village is an inspiring perspective for community-focused investments in Opportunity Zones.
When Beit paid a visit to a Newark charter school in 2008 he was blown away by “the energy of the teachers and the energy of the students.” But some of those educators were working six days a week, with hours-long commutes. With studies finding a relationship between commute times, well-being and job satisfaction, and urban schools suffering from higher rates of teacher turnover, it’s not hard to imagine how housing costs and commute times take a toll on Newark’s school system.