Apple commits $2.5 billion to combat California's housing crisis

Apple is devoting $2.5 billion to help alleviate the housing crisis that Big Tech helped create in California.

The Monday announcement follows moves by Facebook and Google to each donate $1 billion to addresss the state's housing crunch. For many years, activists have pressured Silicon Valley companies to account for their impact on local communities.

With its ever-increasing costs, California workers face unsustainable 90-minute commutes and costs that are unaffordable even for six-figure earners. The state is also grappling with a growing homeless population. As Apple notes, nearly 30,000 people left San Francisco between April and June of this year and home ownership in the Bay Area hit a seven-year low.

Residential buildings are seen in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. California lawmakers enacted a statewide rent cap on Wednesday covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing crunch nationwide. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Residential buildings are seen in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019. California lawmakers enacted a statewide rent cap on Wednesday covering millions of tenants, the biggest step yet in a surge of initiatives to address an affordable-housing crunch nationwide. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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“Before the world knew the name Silicon Valley, and long before we carried technology in our pockets, Apple called this region home, and we feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure it remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution.”

Apple's commitment includes $1 billion for an affordable housing fund, $1 billion for a first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund, $300 million in Apple-owned and available land for affordable housing, $150 million for a Bay Area housing fund and $50 million to support vulnerable populations.

The first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund will also see Apple working with the state to see how access can be increased for service personnel, school employees and veterans, according to the announcement.

“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. I hope other companies follow their lead,” said Gavin Newsom, governor of California.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook and California Gov. Gavin Newsom discuss the San Jose land Apple is making available for affordable housing. (Courtesy of Apple)

Apple CEO Tim Cook and California Gov. Gavin Newsom discuss the San Jose land Apple is making available for affordable housing. (Courtesy of Apple) (Courtesy of Apple)

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“The sky-high cost of housing — both for homeowners and renters — is the defining quality-of-life concern for millions of families across this state, one that can only be fixed by building more housing. This partnership with Apple will allow the state of California to do just that," Newsom continued.

Apple's $50 million donation for vulnerable populations will support the work of Destination: Home, a group working to eliminate homelessness in the Valley.

“We’re so grateful that Apple has made this significant philanthropic commitment towards solving Silicon Valley’s growing homelessness crisis,” said Jennifer Loving, Destination: Home’s CEO. “With this generous contribution, we’ll be able to scale two proven strategies for reducing homelessness in our community: the production of more permanently affordable housing for our most vulnerable residents and an expansion of prevention programs that help at-risk families remain stably housed."