Google CEO Sundar Pichai today announced an additional $1 billion investment in housing across the Bay Area.
Over the next 10 years, Google promises to repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing. This will enable us 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. "We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents," Pichai said.
Google will also establish a $250 million investment fund so that the company can provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market.
In addition, 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 Google has given to help address homelessness over the last five years, including $3 million we gave to the newly opened SF Navigation Center and $1.5 million to affordable housing for low income veterans and households in Mountain View.
"Our goal is to get housing construction started immediately, and for homes to be available in the next few years. In Mountain View, we’ve already worked with the city to change zoning in the North Bayshore area to free up land for housing, and we’re currently in productive conversations with Sunnyvale and San Jose," Pichai added.
Google is also also funding community spaces that provide free access to co-working areas for nonprofits, improving transit options for the community and the company's employees (taking 9,000 cars off the road per day), and supporting programs for career development, education and local businesses.
Google is one of the Bay Area’s largest employers, but one issue stands out as particularly urgent and complex: housing. The lack of new supply, combined with the rising cost of living, has resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents.