Facebook has announced that it’s earmarking $150 million of its $1 billion affordable housing commitment to building houses for the low-income residents around Silicon Valley. The money will cover the building of 2,000 new homes that will eventually be occupied by those making less than 30% of the region’s medium income.
According to the social media giant, its work to assist the low-income residents in the area has only become more important in the last 10 months as COVID-19 has ripped through the country, causing economic hardship. Those who were already struggling financially before the pandemic are expected to be some of the hardest hit by the economic downturn.
Facebook said the money will be handled by an advisory board of core partners including Support Corporation and Destination: Home as well as community members who have personal experience with homelessness. It said that it plans to distribute all of the $150 million by 2026 and wants to fund at least five projects across Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Mateo, Alameda and Contra Costa over the next 12 months.
The firm said that projects can begin the intake process to receive funding from today. In the next few months, it plans to fund a First Community Housing project in San Jose, California, which will create 123 “deeply affordable” apartments. The apartments will provide on-site support services and will be situated near public transit. Residents will also receive an annual VTA SmartPass that provides free bus and light rail access throughout Santa Clara County.
Aside from funding different projects with its Catalyst Housing Fund, the firm is making efforts to support policy changes at organizations that address system issues within the housing crisis. These efforts should lead to the construction of housing at all income levels, reduce the cost and increase the speed of house production, encourage sustainable development in transit-rich areas, and address the impacts of discriminatory housing policies that have excluded communities of color and prevented economic mobility of low-income households.