Facebook Pledges $1 Billion Toward Affordable Housing

October 23, 2019

Facebook has become the latest company to pledge money to help ease a housing crisis that critics blame big tech for. The social media giant on Tuesday said it would allocate $1 billion in grants, land, and loans to generate more affordable housing in California's Bay Area. The funds will be used to build an estimated 20,000 housing units for middle- to low-income households.

In June, Google pledged $1 billion in land and money to build homes to help to ease the housing crisis in the East Bay area. It also vowed to build at least 20,000 homes in the Bay Area with that money. In January, Microsoft pledged $500 million toward affordable housing in Seattle.

The companies are looking to add affordable housing around their campuses. Facebook will use the money to generate more housing over the next decade.

“If we are going to solve housing, we have to hit every income level,” Menka Sethi, director of location strategy for Facebook, told The New York Times. “The market is not building this housing, and we are currently working with nonprofit developers to figure out what our capital needs to look like to make that happen.”

While California boasts some of the highest salaries, it also has the highest state poverty levels.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has been calling on technology companies to contribute to affordable housing and has asked corporations to use cash to aid in state housing efforts. Facebook’s announcement this week was made jointly with Newsom.

“State government cannot solve housing affordability alone, we need others to join Facebook in stepping up—progress requires partnership with the private sector and philanthropy to change the status quo and address the cost crisis our state is facing,” Newsom said.