Google is devoting $1 billion to the effort to provide affordable housing in the Bay Area, where booming tech firms have been blamed for driving home prices out of reach for anyone without a rich stock-option plan. Google says the money should result in 20,000 new homes added to the local market.
"We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement unveiling the plan Tuesday.
Google's commitment will play out over 10 years, in two main phases. First, Pichai said, the company will "repurpose at least $750 million of Google's land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing."
That move should result in 15,000 new homes at all income levels, including for low- and middle-income prospective homebuyers, the Google CEO said.
In the second part of the plan, Google will create a $250 million investment fund that will be used to give developers incentives to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units.
Pichai said the company has already worked with its home city of Mountain View to change the zoning on some of its land. Similar conversations are taking place with officials in Sunnyvale and San Jose, he added.
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