California is in the midst of a serious housing crisis with ramifications that stretch across the state. In the Bay Area, the crisis is often at its most visible due to the presence of tech mega-corps and the influx of highly paid tech workers that have exacerbated the problem.
It hasn’t been uncommon for some of these huge tech companies to take some responsibility for the issues and invest back into organizations seeking to promote affordable housing. In Seattle, Microsoft and Amazon have announced initiatives. In the Bay Area, Google recently announced a $1 billion 10-year-plan — and now Facebook is doing the same.
In a blog post attributed to Facebook CFO David Wehner, the company announced they’ve set aside $1 billion to tackle affordable housing; they’re hoping this initiative will lead to the creation of “up to 20,000 new housing units.”
This, of course, isn’t going to be some lump-sum check sent to the California government; it’s divvied up into a few different initiatives:
- California state: $250 million is being devoted to a partnership with the California state government to subsidize development on excess state-owned land “where housing is scarce.”
- Bay Area: A $225 million chunk of the commitment is the value of Facebook-owned land that has been zoned for housing in Menlo Park. An additional $150 million is being contributed to The Bay’s Future Fund, an affordable housing investment fund. And $25 million is going to help fund housing construction for essential workers in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.
- California and elsewhere: The last major chunk, $350 million, is being set aside for “additional commitments” to the other listed initiatives, as well as new efforts to address housing issues near Facebook offices outside of California.
For its part, the California government seems appreciative to have some help from major companies, though even hundreds of millions in aid is a drop in the bucket for how badly the California state government has mismanaged this issue.
“State government cannot solve housing affordability alone, we need others to join Facebook in stepping up – progress requires partnership with the private sector and philanthropy to change the status quo and address the cost crisis our state is facing,” a statement attributed to California Governor Gavin Newsom reads.