Facebook Commits $1B to Affordable Housing in California

The move comes on the heels of Microsoft and Google pledging big bucks to affordable housing solutions in recent months.

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Facebook is the latest tech giant to pledge big money toward solving the affordable housing crisis. The Silicon Valley-based company announced this week it is committing $1 billion toward affordable housing efforts in California.

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In an announcement on the company’s website, Facebook’s CFO David Wehner said that the company’s investment will go toward addressing affordable housing issues not just in the Bay Area but in other regions where the company operates as well. The investment will be used to create 20,000 new workforce housing units for “essential workers,” like teachers, nurses and first responders over the next 10 years.

The announcement comes after Google pledged $1 billion to build and preserve affordable housing in California’s Bay Area in June of this year. As one of the region’s largest employers, the company said it will continue to work with local governments to support housing getting built quickly and economically. Microsoft was the first big tech firm to announce a major investment, when it pledged to commit $500 million toward affordable housing in the Puget Sound region of Washington, where the software firm is based.

Broken down, the money Facebook is pledging will go toward five different initiatives:

  • $250 million will be committed to a public-private partnership with the State of California to build mixed-income housing on state-owned land in communities that lack housing;
  • $150 million will go toward building affordable housing and housing for the homeless in the San Francisco Bay Area. Funds will be contributed to the Bay’s Future Fund, which is the affordable housing investment arm of Partnership for the Bay’s Future;
  • $225 million to build more than 1,500 units of mixed-income housing on land previously purchased by Facebook in Menlo Park., Calif., that has been rezoned for residential housing;
  • $25 million to build workforce housing on public land for school districts in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, in a partnership with Santa Clara County and local school districts;
  • $350 million towards additional commitments within the spectrum of initiatives. The money will also go toward support more affordable housing in other communities where Facebook has offices.

Looking to the next decade

Despite the efforts of private companies and public entities to tackle the housing crisis, some in the real estate industry are concerned that as a new decade approaches, the lack of affordable housing across the spectrum will continue to grow.

“Housing affordability has become a growing concern,” Christopher Ptomey, executive director of the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, told Multi-Housing News earlier this month. “It isn’t just a concern for extremely low- and very low-income population. It’s really a problem all the way up to (the earnings level of) 120 percent of median income and in some of the coastal big cities.” 

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