On Monday Apple pledged a whopping $2.5 billion to help fight the California housing crisis.
As reported in The Mercury News, Apple’s pledge includes invested and donated funds and real estate to help build new affordable housing and help first-time homebuyers in the Bay Area and throughout the state over the next two years. This is the latest in large pledging after Google and Facebook each pledged $1 billion earlier this year because local companies are making more of an effort to address the housing shortage that’s been brought on by the Silicon Valley tech boom.
“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 CEO Tim Cook wrote in a news release. “Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution.”
For months, pressure for Apple to act had been mounting since for years Apple had remained on the sidelines. Some advocates even criticized the company for not including a meaningful contribution to housing with the construction of its “Spaceship” campus in Cupertino. Now, however, Apple well surpassed both the Google and Facebook pledges.
Apple’s commitment includes two main parts to be executed in partnership with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office and local Bay Area organizations. The first part is a $1 billion investment fund, which will provide an open line of credit to the state and others for the construction of housing for low to moderate-income families across the state. The second part is a $1 billion first-time homebuyer assistance program: In partnership with the state, Apple will provide financing and down payment assistance to aspiring homeowners. Apple also plans to determine other ways to help school employees, veterans and other essential service workers buy homes.
“This unparalleled financial commitment to affordable housing, and the innovative strategies at the heart of this initiative, are proof that Apple is serious about solving this issue,” Newsom wrote in the Apple news release. “I hope other companies follow their lead.”
On top of the $2 billion in housing investments, Apple is making land the company owns in San Jose, which is worth nearly $300 million, available for the development of new affordable housing.
Additionally, Apple is providing $200 million to two Bay Area housing organizations. The company is partnering with Housing Trust Silicon Valley to launch a $150 million fund for local affordable housing, using long-term forgivable loans and grants. The company is also donating $50 million to San Jose-based Destination: Home to combat homelessness in Silicon Valley.
“We’re so grateful that Apple has made this significant philanthropic commitment towards solving Silicon Valley’s growing homelessness crisis,” Destination: Home CEO Jennifer Loving wrote. “Apple’s contribution serves as an example of how Silicon Valley companies can work in partnership with the public and nonprofit sectors to address this huge challenge.”
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