Google said today that it would invest $1 billion over the next 10 years to address the chronic shortage of affordable housing options in the Bay Area. The move mirrors—and doubles—an earlier Microsoft initiative related to affordable housing in the Seattle area.
“Google is one of the Bay Area’s largest employers,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai explains in a new post to the Inside Google blog. “Across the region, one issue stands out as particularly urgent and complex: housing. The lack of new supply, combined with the rising cost of living, has resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low-income residents. As Google grows throughout the Bay Area—whether it’s in our home town of Mountain View, in San Francisco, or in our future developments in San Jose and Sunnyvale—we’ve invested in developing housing that meets the needs of these communities.”
To further these efforts, Google is now committing to the following:
- Over the next 10 years, Google will repurpose at least $750 million of its land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing. This, it says, will support the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families.
- Google will establish a $250 million investment fund so that it can incentivize developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the area.
- Google will give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on homelessness and displacement. This is in addition to the $18 million in grants the firm has already provided over the past five years.
“Our goal is to help communities succeed over the long term, and make sure that everyone has access to opportunity, whether or not they work in tech,” Mr. Pichai continues. “Solving a big issue like the housing shortage will take collaboration across business, government and community organizations, and we look forward to working alongside others to make the Bay Area a place where everyone who lives here can thrive.”