Google Pledges $1 Billion to Ease Bay Area Housing Crisis

SAN FRANCISCO — Google pledged $1 billion worth of land and money on Tuesday to build affordable housing in the San Francisco Bay Area, the latest effort by tech industry leaders to address housing shortages near their headquarters.

Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, said in a blog post that the company planned to repurpose at least $750 million worth of land it owns for housing over the next 10 years. In addition, Mr. Pichai said Google planned to create a $250 million investment fund to provide incentives for developers to create 5,000 affordable homes in the area.

Google estimates this could spur the building of at least 20,000 homes in the Bay Area.

Google and other Silicon Valley firms have expanded rapidly over the years, injecting huge amounts of wealth into the area and exacerbating a housing imbalance. Buying or renting a home in the Bay Area has become prohibitive for most people outside the technology industry. Over the past eight years, the San Francisco Bay Area has added about 676,000 jobs and 176,000 housing units, according to the Bay Area Council.

[Cities start to question an American ideal: A house with a yard on every lot.]

Other technology companies have donated money to ease the housing problems that have resulted from their rapid growth. In January, Microsoft announced that it would donate $500 million to help provide affordable housing in the Seattle area. That month, a group of Bay Area philanthropists, including Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, also pledged to donate $500 million to protect and expand affordable housing in the area.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/18/technology/google-1-billion-housing-crisis.html