Facebook has announced that it will be committing $1 billion toward affordable housing in Silicon Valley. The aim is to produce up to 20,000 new housing units for workers over the next decade. Much of the new units are aimed at teachers, police, and other middle-class workers in the Menlo Park area, Wall Street Journal reports.
Facebook is following Google’s announcement earlier this year in which the company announced that it will spend $1 billion on efforts aimed at increasing affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay area, in part by utilizing some of Google’s land.
The Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas in the country. Despite a 39% increase in inventory and an ongoing increase in affordability within the San Francisco Bay area, many homeowners and potential homeowners are still finding the area unaffordable. Google hopes its plan will address the shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents, as inventory continues to slip in California.
Microsoft made a similar investment as well, with a $500 million investment into Seattle housing. Making the announcement, Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft said that as a company Microsoft, which is headquartered in the neighboring city of Redmond, was very focused for the past 15 years on the health of the region and had "pursued this by focusing on two issues above all else—education and transportation."
Smith said that the changing times have made the company think about expanding their focus to include "the affordability of housing."
To understand the problem of affordable housing in the region, Microsoft partnered with Zillow and the Boston Consulting Group to analyze the need to preserve existing and create new affordable housing units for low- and middle-income households in the Puget Sound region that is comprised of Seattle and nine other surrounding cities, including Redmond.