Apple Commits $2.5 Billion to Battling California's Housing Crisis

Apple Store
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The Apple logo is displayed on the exterior of an Apple Store on Feb. 1, 2018 in San Francisco. 

Technology giant Apple on Monday unveiled a $2.5 billion commitment "to combat the housing crisis in California."

It said its initiative was designed to help address the "housing availability and affordability crisis" in partnership with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the state and community-based organizations. "Apple is providing a significant investment that offers statewide housing support, as well as funding for projects in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area," it said. The goal is "to accelerate and expand new housing production; jump-start long-term developments that would otherwise not be possible; help first-time buyers purchase homes; and support new housing and programs to reduce homelessness, after extensively studying the issue and listening to different perspectives."

Said Apple CEO Tim Cook: "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. 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 in its announcement highlighted that costs are skyrocketing for renters and potential homebuyers alike, meaning that "community members like teachers, firefighters, first responders and service workers are increasingly having to make the difficult choice to leave behind the community they have long called home." It cited data showing that nearly 30,000 people left San Francisco between April and June of this year, and homeownership in the Bay Area is at a seven-year low.

"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 Newsom. "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."

Here are some key elements of Apple’s investment commitment:

– A $1 billion affordable housing investment fund: "The $1 billion commitment to the state of California is a first-of-its-kind affordable housing fund that will provide the state and others with an open line of credit to develop and build additional new, very low- to moderate-income housing faster and at a lower cost," the tech giant said.

– A $1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund, which will provide aspiring buyers with financing and down payment assistance.

– Apple will also make $300 million of land it owns in San Jose available for affordable housing. 

– The company will also provide $200 million to support new lower-income housing and "help some of the most vulnerable populations in the Bay Area."

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.