Apple Pledges $2.5 Billion to Address the California Housing Crisis
Thanks to the bevy of entrepreneurs, engineers and technology executives, regular people are getting priced out of the California housing market.
With homelessness on the rise and the housing availability and affordability crisis worsening, Apple is stepping up. It announced it will invest $2.5 billion to help address the problem which it says resulted in close to 30,000 people leaving San Francisco between April and June alone. The rising home prices are pushing out teachers, firefighters, first responders, service workers and others who can't afford the housing costs.
Apple feels a 'profound' responsibility for its home
“Before the world knew the name Silicon Valley, and long before we carried technology in our pockets, Apple called this region home, and we feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure it remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO in a press release. “Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution.”
Of the $2.5 billion Apple is pledging, $1 billion will go in an affordable housing fund which will provide the state and others with an open line of credit to develop and build new, very low to moderate-income housing. Calling it a first of its kind fund, Apple said the idea is to develop the communities faster and cheaper.
Another $1 billion will be used to provide first-time homebuyers with mortgage assistance. Apple is working with the state to provide financing and down payment assistance.
Of the remaining balance, $300 million is earmarked to make available land it owns in San Jose, California for the development of new affordable housing. The Bay Area will get $150 million in funding to support new affordable housing projects and $50 million will go to support the homeless population in Silicon Valley. Apple plans on contributing to change the factors affecting homelessness and to come up with ways to prevent it in the future.
Google invested $1 billion to address the crisis as well
Apple is taking a page from Google but on a grander scale. In June the Internet search giant announced it would donate $1 billion to redevelop land it owned to create affordable housing. It also created a fund to encourage developers to create 5,000 housing units in the state that are moderately priced.