Facebook announced on Tuesday that it will give $1 billion in grants, loans and land to help ease the affordable housing crisis in California.
The social media giant said the donation will help create 20,000 new housing units to help ‘essential workers’, like teachers and first responders, have less commute time.
The deal is done in partnership with California Governor Gavin Newsom and the State of California.
The statement said, Newsom said: ‘Access to more affordable housing for all families is key to addressing economic inequality and restoring social mobility in California and beyond.’
Facebook announced on Tuesday that they will pledge $1 billion in loans, land and grants towards California’s affordable housing
‘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.’
The $1 billion will be distributed over a decade and will be divided six different verticals.
In partnership with California, $250 million will go towards mixed-income housing on excess state-owned land in areas where housing is ‘scarce.’
The pledge is done in partnership with California Governor Gavin Newsom (pictured) and the State of California
Some $150 million will go to the production of affordable housing and housing for homeless individuals in San Francisco.
Facebook will contribute to the Bay’s Future Fund, an affordable housing investment fund.
Around $225 million in land at Menlo Park, a property recently purchased by Facebook, will potentially hold 1,500 units.
San Mateo and Santa Clara counties will receive $25 million to build teachers and essential workers housing on public land in school districts.
An additional $350 million will go towards other commitments based on effectiveness of the five other initiatives.
Pictured: Homeless residents on Skid Row in Los Angeles in tents that have become common place during the state’s housing crisis
David Wehner, Chief Financial Officer of Facebook, said: Based on this work and feedback from our employees and neighbors, we’ve learned that the production of affordable housing across the income spectrum is a problem throughout California.’
Other companies have also promised large investments to combat social issues.
In June, Google pledged $1 billion to fight the housing crisis in the Bay Area.
The company plans to repurpose at least $750 million worth of commercially zoned land they own over the next 10 years.
Google will also create a $250 million investment fund to provide developers with incentives to build affordable housing.
The State of California and Facebook’s pledge will directly help low income residents and homeless citizens affected by the housing crisis
‘We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for longtime middle- and low-income residents,’ said Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive.
North of California, Microsoft pledged $500 million for affordable housing in Seattle, Washington.
Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer said: ’We believe everybody has a role to play, and everybody needs to play their role.’
The investment will create housing for the company’s non-tech workers, teachers, firefighters and residents living on middle to low incomes.
Facebook’s investment, one that would directly affect their California headquarters, is the latest chapter in the ongoing housing crisis affecting all aspects of California life.
Although Californians earn some of the highest wages in the country, this has done little to combat the growing level of homelessness.
The state has been singled out as having the highest poverty rate.
California has the highest poverty rate in the country and has around 130,000 people identified as homeless
According to the Public Policy Institute of California, almost four in ten residents are living in or near poverty in 2017.
It’s reported that around 130,000 people are homeless in California, equaling to half the population of Orlando, Florida.
In places like San Francisco, the realities of the homeless crisis is becoming dire as tent cities are becoming more common and residents are clashing with homeless.
Just a week ago, a frustrated neighbor erected a plywood wall to keep homeless people from using a neighborhood alleyway as a public toilet.
‘Ingleside Path’ in the Ingleside neighborhood reportedly would urinate and relieve themselves in the alleyway multiple times a day.
The neighbor told ABC 7: This walkway has been a burden on city resources for some time now. The walkway requires multiple trips a week for power washing and city records confirm that over 100 calls were received for emergency services.
In September, neighbors in Clinton Park combined their money to purchase two dozen boulders and placed them on a residential sidewalk to keep the homeless from setting up camp.
Both instances have been critiqued by activists who call them ‘hostile architecture.’
Jeff Kositsky, the director for the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, estimates that 20,000 homeless people reside or pass through San Francisco any given year.
Even with the rise of the homeless crisis and residents calling for action, only five percent of the city’s total budget is used to combat homelessness.
In the tenderloin district, a series of drug addicts and the homeless have pushed residents to their wits end.
Homeless people reportedly leave behind used needles and defecate on the ground.
President Donald Trump (pictured) has publicly condemned San Francisco’s growing housing and homeless crisis after visiting the state in mid-September
In response, San Francisco set up public toilets and formed the ‘poop patrol’, a special six-person team tasked with cleaning up the feces around San Francisco, was announced.
San Francisco also funded an initiative to hire people to collect used needles off the street.
California’s housing crisis, specifically San Francisco, has been publicly targeted by President Donald Trump.
Trump visited California in mid-September and publicly denounced the city’s homeless crisis.
He said it was the result of ‘liberal policies’ and said city officials were allowing waste to filter into storm drains leading to the ocean.
Pictured: a tent encampment in Los Angeles that spans the better part of a residential block
‘It’s a terrible situation that’s in Los Angeles and in San Francisco,’ Trump said of the issue.
The Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Newsom and said California was failing to protect residents from ‘degraded water.’
The letter read: ‘California needs to fulfill its obligation to protect its water bodies and, more importantly, public health, and it should take this letter as notice that EPA is going to insist that it meets its environmental obligations.’
‘If California does not step up to its delegated responsibilities, then EPA will be forced to take action.’
The letter directly linked the alleged water pollution to the homelessness crisis.
Ben Carson (pictured), Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development, rejected a housing aid from Newsom that would have provided additional resources to fighting the homeless crisis
Although the federal government wants California cleaned up, they’re unwilling to pay for it.
Secretary Ben Carson of the Housing and Urban Development rejected a housing aid request from Newsom and the mayors of the state’s 13 biggest cities.
The request asked for additional resources to fight homelessness, including 50,000 housing vouchers for low income residents.
Carson said: ‘Your letter seeks more federal dollars for California from hardworking American taxpayers but fails to admit that your state and local policies have played a major role in creating the current crisis.’
He implied that California’s housing problem was sanctuary city policies, law enforcement policies and an over-regulated housing market.
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