Apple announced this morning that it is allocating more than $ 400 million to affordable housing projects and other homeowner assistance programs in California, as part of its previous multi-year commitment of $ 2.5 billion. dollars to deal with the housing crisis and the state’s homelessness problems.
The funding is expected to support thousands of Californians with help buying a first home or new affordable housing, according to Apple.
Projects launched in 2020 include 250 new affordable housing units in the Bay Area – the first affordable housing developments funded through a public-private partnership with Housing Trust Silicon Valley. The units will cover the North, East and South Bay areas and will include numerous units reserved for veterans, homeless or former homeless and residents with intellectual disabilities.
Apple also offers a mortgage and down payment fund and an affordable housing investment support program, both created in collaboration with the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA). Apple has provided mortgage assistance and down payments to hundreds of first-time buyers to date, with additional benefits reserved for teachers, veterans and firefighters. The CalHFA assistance program is also diverse, with more than 65% of borrowers identifying themselves as Hispanic, black, Asian, Pacific Islander or American Indian.
This month, Apple will launch an affordable housing investment support program with CalHFA, aimed at funding the development of new low-to-moderate income housing at a lower cost. The program is expected to produce a number of affordable housing units in California over the next five years.
In addition, Apple is supporting the construction of affordable housing through a partnership with Destination: Home, which supports the homeless in the Silicon Valley region. This initiative will help finance the construction of more than 1,000 new affordable and supportive housing units, including 80 units in a project in Santa Clara for seniors who are homeless or on the road to becoming homeless.
Apple says support has helped Destination: Home prevent 1,500 families from losing their homes each year, up 67% from a year ago.
“At a time when so many in our community are facing unprecedented challenges, we believe it is essential to ensure that their hopes for the future are supported by tangible programs and results,” said Kristina Raspe, Apple vice president for global real estate and in an ad. “As cities and states have been forced to halt many of their long-term investments in affordable housing amid the current public health crisis, Apple is proud to continue to move forward with our comprehensive plan fighting the California housing crisis, “she added.
In November 2019, Apple announced for the first time its intention to commit funds to address the housing and homelessness crisis. It is not the only major technology company to do so. Amazon, Facebook and Google are also spending money to solve these problems. But these movements are not just about charity and good works. Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google are partly responsible for the housing crisis initially, as their expansions in the region have driven long-time residents away from their homes. Over the years, tech companies have come under increasing criticism for the negative impacts they have had on communities because the residents who run cities – like firefighters, nurses, and teachers, for example – have had to move due to higher house prices.
Of course, like most complexities, a number of other factors have also contributed to the housing crisis, aside from the impact of technology. There are also local laws in the region, zoning regulations, protests against vertical construction, NIMBY-ism, the impact of rental control on the market, the limited supply of housing, the scarcity of available land. and more.
The additional funding for affordable housing comes at a time when some of the wealthiest Bay Area residents and tech workers are fleeing the city in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated effects, such as layoffs. San Francisco room rental prices fell 11.8% year-over-year, the largest drop in the United States, breaking the record price, according to a recent Zumper report in July. last month. Two-bedroom rents fell nearly 10% year-over-year.
But even a double-digit drop will not help solve the housing crisis, as rents and housing prices were already so high that they were out of reach for many residents of the city. In addition, the longer term impacts of the pandemic on the region’s housing market remain to be seen. For example, it is unclear to what extent companies will continue to adopt remote working if a vaccine were to emerge, which makes returning to offices safe.
Apple’s initiatives to commit $ 2.5 billion remain unchanged, despite the pandemic. They include a $ 1 billion affordable housing investment fund with the State of California, a $ 1 billion mortgage loan fund for first-time buyers, $ 300 million in land owned by Apple put to the availability of affordable housing, a $ 150 million fund for housing in the Bay Area and $ 50 million to support the efforts of Destination: Home.