Google has pledged $1 billion to help remedy the San Francisco housing crisis.
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Over the next decade, Google plans to convert $750 million of its land from commercial to residential, paving the way for 15,000 new homes—five times the number of houses built in the Bay Area last year. Additionally, it set up a $250 million investment fund intended for developers to build 5,000 affordable housing units.
The company also promised to make housing available to both and middle- and low-income residents and pledged another $50 million to combat homelessness. It has already changed zoning in North Bayshore, California, and is "currently in productive conversations with Sunnyvale and San Jose."
According to Vox, the current price of an average Bay Area home is $1.34 million with roughly a $250,000 down payment—a price too steep for many tech workers making six figures. Shortages are as problematic as pricing: only one house is built for every 4.5 jobs added, according to the Building Industry Association of the Bay Area.
Of course, Google and its Silicon Valley ilk are the main reason the region is in this predicament. They offer high-paying jobs, but those workers need places to live and have money to spend. They in turn drive up real estate prices and push out those who can't afford to spend more than $1 million on a two-bedroom ranch house in Mountain View.
A group of San Francisco philanthropists, including Mark Zuckerburg, plan to raise another $500 million to address the issue. And Microsoft made a similar pledge earlier this year, dedicating $500 million for affordable housing in the Seattle area.