Covid-19 has only exacerbated the longstanding affordable housing shortage in America. The National Low Income Housing Coalition found that there's a shortage of 7 million units priced for "extremely low" income renters.
Many see the Silicon Valley elite as far removed from such issues, churning out code in glass boxes in the sky. But contrary to such caricatures, big tech is actually doing something to help America's affordable housing crisis. And nowhere is this crisis more acute than in the Bay Area, the home base of both Google
To help solve the epidemic of homelessness in the Bay Area, Google has committed $1 billion to develop 15,000 new homes across the Bay Area over the next ten years. If Google stays on track, the 1,500 new homes will account for at least half of the 3,000 new homes constructed in the region each year.
And it's not like Google's investment hasn't made headway. In partnership with the Housing Trust of Silicon Valley, financing has already been set aside for 150 homes in San Jose and Alameda county. Not to mention how Google's aid will help the group construct 4,000 affordable homes over the next ten years.
But Google is only part of the solution. For its part, Apple has pledged $2.5 billion to alleviate the housing shortage in the Bay Area crisis and California as a whole. Apple has since become a critical partner with the California Housing Finance Agency in the agency's attempts to resolve the state's housing crisis.
Already funding from Apple has also helped the non-profit, Destination: Home. The organization recently broke ground on a thousand units of "deeply affordable housing," reserved for the most vulnerable populations. Apple's grants also helped Destination: Home expand its lending capacity by 65%, which could save 1,500 people from homelessness every year.
Of course, the affordable housing crunch isn't just confined to the state of California. With central hubs in Seattle, Arlington, and Nashville, Amazon
In addition to these lending efforts, Amazon also helped fund the Washington Housing Conservancy's purchase of the Crystal House development in Arlington, Virginia. The group's acquisition will help them keep rents affordable for the building's many residents. Furthermore, Amazon's partnership with the King County Housing Authority, based in Seattle, will help the agency maintain its 7,000 affordable housing units for at least the next century.
There's a lot more to be done to solve America's affordable housing crisis. But no one faults an ant for the small steps he takes when he's building an anthill. And no one can fault Apple, Amazon, or Google for the small but steady steps they've taken to fix the nation's housing shortage.