Google loans $128 million to create affordable housing

Three years after launching a $250 million fund to alleviate the Bay Area’s housing crisis, Google has awarded over half that amount to 23 affordable housing projects across the region.

The Mountain View tech giant this week announced it has so far distributed $128 million in loans to help 18 organizations create around 4,700 new homes for low- and middle-income residents.

The fund is part of a $1 billion effort Google launched in 2019 to put a dent in the Bay Area’s severe housing shortage by adding 20,000 homes. Google and other tech companies are often blamed for exacerbating the crisis over the past decade as they’ve flooded the region with high-paying jobs, in turn driving up rents and home prices as new housing construction hasn’t kept up with demand.

“The Bay Area is our home, and we’re helping our hometown communities solve challenging problems,” wrote Adrian Schurr, Bay Area giving manager for the company, in a blog post announcing the loan progress.

Some of the developments Google is supporting through loans include the 90-unit Meridian project near downtown Sunnyvale, a 115-unit project in downtown San Jose called Kelsey Ayer Station, the 100-unit La Avenida Apartments in Mountain View, and Potrero Terrace and Annex— a San Francisco public housing project where the city plans to replace 619 units with new apartments and build another 1,000 homes.

While most of the 23 planned projects are in the South Bay and Peninsula, Google is also helping finance a handful of developments in the East Bay and Sonoma County, though the company declined to identify them.

There’s no timeline for distributing the entire $250 million fund, a company spokesperson said.

As part of its $1 billion plan, Google also aims to use $750 million of its own land for development, including the Downtown West project in San Jose, as well as the proposed Middlefield Park and North Bayshore projects near its campus in Mountain View.

The three massive developments, which are also set to include offices, retail stores, restaurants, open space and event centers, would create a total of 8,900 housing units, according to the company.

Over the next few years, Google also plans to give $10 million in grants to fund pilot programs that will give cash to Bay Area homeless people to stabilize their lives and help them find housing. With those donations, the company will have awarded $18 million of a $50 million commitment to homelessness programs it made in 2019.

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