Google pledged $1 billion over the next 10 years to try to address an affordable housing crisis in California's Bay Area.
"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", he said. A further $50 million will be given in grants to nonprofit organizations working with the homeless and displaced.
That said, the success will of Google's new investment will depend on other factors, like cooperation from local governments to approve Google's new zoning plans. The company is already looking to free up land for housing in Mountain View, Calif., where Google-parent Alphabet is based, and it's in "productive conversations" with cities Sunnyvale and San Jose to do the same.
It remains to be seen whether or not Google can pull off this ambitious plan, but for now, Pichai seems confident his company can keep their word.
"We think Google got a lot right with their initiative", says Kevin Zwick, CEO of Housing Trust Silicon Valley, which works on issues related to affordable housing.
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Google announced a major investment in the Bay Area amid increasing backlash over the tech industry's dominance in the area while poorer communities live in distress.
In 2018, 3,000 homes were built in the South Bay.
"Our goal is to help communities succeed over the long term and make sure that everyone has access to opportunity, whether or not they work in tech", Pichai wrote.
In Santa Clara County, which encompasses San Jose, Mountain View and Palo Alto, there is a shortage of more than 35,000 affordable housing units, Bramson said. Google, which was founded in Mountain View, California, 20 years ago, has also been aggressively expanding in the area. And NetApp, a hybrid cloud data services and data management company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., said it was investing $10 million in building and preserving low-priced housing in the Bay Area as part of the Housing Trust Silicon Valley's TECH Fund. From 2007 to 2014, the nine counties of the Bay Area permitted just 57% of the number of units needed to meet population growth, Regan explained.
"If Google wants to be a neighbor and stand up for the people who are being disproportionately displaced, it also means getting involved in keeping people in their housing", she said.
"There's an enormous need for funding for subsidized housing, especially for people who are being displaced in the vicinity of Google and Facebook and all these companies", Singh said.