MENLO PARK, CA—Not to be outdone by Google’s large donation earlier this year, Facebook is also donating $1 billion during the coming decade in affordable housing, mostly in the Golden State. The social network platform has partnered with governor Gavin Newsom and others on projects intended to result in as many as 20,000 new housing units for teachers, nurses, first responders and other essential workers, according to Facebook’s chief financial officer David Wehner. For example, in San Francisco, a family of four with a household income of $100,000 per year is considered low income, he says.
“We’ve learned that the production of affordable housing across the income spectrum is a problem throughout California and must be addressed through partnerships that bring companies, communities, nonprofit organizations and policy makers statewide together to find creative solutions,” Wehner said.
Facebook is devoting $250 million to a partnership with California for homes on excess state-owned land where housing is scarce and will provide $225 million worth of land it has already bought in Menlo Park to be used for more than 1,500 units of mixed-income housing, according to Wehner.
“Access to more affordable housing for all families is key to addressing economic inequality and restoring social mobility in California and beyond,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”
Facebook has previously teamed up with community groups and local officials on affordable housing initiatives in the Bay Area and its headquarters city of Menlo Park. About a third of the money, some $350 million, will be allotted to affordable housing projects in other parts of the country, Facebook said.
Meanwhile, in its June announcement, Google said the firm will be repurposing at least $750 million of its land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing during the next 10 years. This will enable Google to support the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families. By way of comparison, a total of 3,000 homes were built in the South Bay in 2018.
Second, Google is establishing a $250 million investment fund to provide incentives that enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market. In addition to the increased supply of affordable housing these investments will help create, Google will give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement. This builds on the $18 million in grants it has given to help address homelessness during the last five years, including $3 million it donated to the newly opened San Francisco Navigation Center and $1.5 million to affordable housing for low-income veterans and households in Mountain View, GlobeSt.com learns.