Apple donates $2.5B to combat California housing crisis

Tim Cook and California Governor Gavin Newsom discussing the San Jose land Apple is making available for affordable housing

Apple Inc on Monday said it would commit $2.5 billion USA to easing a housing shortage that has driven up prices across California, with most of the money dedicated to funds that will be run either with or by the state government.

Apple will also donate $150 million to the Bay Area housing fund to support affordable housing projects. "This partnership with Apple will allow the state of California to do just that".

Axios also reported on some of the radical moves localities are using to try to solve the housing problem, including Minneapolis and the state of OR, where single family units have been banned.

$1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund: Working with the state, this first-time homebuyer fund will provide aspiring homebuyers with financing and down payment assistance.

Google and Facebook this year each promised $1 billion to help address high housing costs.

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Today, many area residents can't afford to live in the cities where they work, commuting an hour or more from more affordable neighborhoods.

The investment comes at a time when the housing crunch in Calfornia has forced people from their homes, Apple explained in its announcement.

$1 billion will go towards an affordable housing investment fund which Cook said will "provide the state and others with an open line of credit to develop and build additional new, very low- to moderate-income housing faster and at a lower cost".

"This unparalleled financial commitment to affordable housing, and the innovative strategies at the heart of this initiative, are proof that Apple is serious about solving this issue", Newsom said. Apple's $1 billion housing fund is created to assist that effort by giving the state a cheaper source of credit. It also created a fund to encourage developers to create 5,000 housing units in the state that are moderately priced. But tech has played a big role here, having led to a disparity between the wealthy tech workers and everyone else as well as contributing to rapid population growth that's outpaced the growth in the housing supply. Voters in nearby Mountain View, home to Google, passed a per-employee business tax past year to get companies to help ease the strain on traffic and housing. Apple's current headquarters - a ring of gleaming metal and glass nicknamed the "spaceship" in Cupertino, Calif., - sits less than eight kilometres from the suburban family home where co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak assembled the first Apple computers in the 1970s. He said, however, that there are still other challenges, such as local land-use restrictions and the geography of the Bay Area, which limits where homes can be built.

Shulman, of UCLA, said "you need a major relaxation of zoning on the peninsula and that's going to be hard to do given the local opposition to density".

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