Apple looks to tackle the California housing crisis with $2.5 billion

Apple announced today that it will be committing a total of $2.5 billion to help ease the California housing crisis. It joins fellow US tech giants, Microsoft, Google and Facebook who have already donated significant sums of money to help tackle a shortage of affordable housing.
Apple CEO Tim Cook California Governor Gavin Newsom discussing the San Jose land Apple is making available for affordable housing
Apple hopes to ease the California housing crisis with its donation. Photo: Apple

This morning, Apple Inc. pledged $2.5 billion to help the California housing crisis which has placed huge pressure on the local community for many years now.

The money will be made available in the form of a number of different funds aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing in the State of California, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area.

How will the money be broken down?

According to Apple, the $2.5 billion will be broken down as follows:

  • $1 billion affordable housing investment fund. This is an open line of credit intended to help the state and other organisations to develop low-income housing.
  • $1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund. This fund will help first-time homebuyers, particularly those working in essential fields, with down payments and financing.
  • $300 million-worth of San Jose land owned by Apple. This land will be made available for development of affordable housing.
  • $150 million Bay Area affordable housing fund which will come in the form of grants and long-term forgivable loans.
  • $50 million to help Destination: Home in their drive to address homelessness in the Bay Area.

What are other tech giants doing to address the shortage of affordable housing?

According to the New York Times, Apple is actually behind most of the other top-five US tech companies when it comes to donating money to ease the general West Coast housing crisis.

From above Silicon Valley, south bay, California, USA
The cost of living near Silicon Valley is very high. Photo: Wonderlane via Flickr

Microsoft got the ball rolling back in January when it pledged $500 million to assist efforts to provide affordable housing in and around its home city of Seattle/Redmond.

In June, Google made a similar pledge of $1 billion to help the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area. This pledge came mainly in the form of land owned by the company which is currently earmarked for commercial development.

Then, last month, Facebook pledged $1 billion in land, loans and grants, also to help the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area.

The Silicon Valley tech giants are attempting to mitigate the role they have played in driving the state-wide housing crisis.

As each company has grown, and the massive number of workers they employ has grown with them. This has caused the availability of affordable housing across the state to plummet.

A First Community Housing project in North San Pedro
Affordable housing has been increasingly hard to come by as tech companies based on the West Coast have grown. Photo: Apple

Many workers now have to live in vehicles to avoid commuting multiple hours per-day to and from work.

Discussing the issue of affordable housing in the Bay Area, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said:

“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.”

Apple’s pledge, which is significantly larger than the those offered by the other tech giants, will be made available for projects over the next two years.

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