Facebook announced this week that it was donating a billion dollars via loans, land, and grants, to help alleviate California’s burgeoning housing crunch. The Silicon Valley giants says it will provide around twenty thousand houses and/or housing units for those with lower middle class incomes who already live in the Silicon Valley area, or those who move there to accept employment.
The pledge is one of the latest moves by major technology corporations around the country to use their huge financial resources to alleviate the skyrocketing cost of housing wherever tech centers have become established. Last summer Google promised a billion dollars for low-cost housing in California. At the same time, Microsoft has promised to put five-hundred million into a fund to bring more affordable housing to the Seattle area.
Housing costs have been problematic in California for the past decade. It doesn’t matter that California has the highest wage base in the country; they also have the highest rate of poverty in any state, once housing costs are factored in. A growing number of workers spend three hours or more each day commuting to their jobs, and even mid-level managers may have to sleep in their cars if they fall behind on their rent. Homelessness continues to grow at a disturbing rate throughout the state.