Apple has pledged $2.5 billion in donations to help combat California’s current crisis of rising home costs, CEO Tim Cook announced Monday.
The tech giant’s contributions have been earmarked to help jumpstart home building, assist first-time home buyers and reduce homelessness in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area.
“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,” Cook said in the announcement.
Apple’s move follows earlier action by Google, which in June pledged to invest $1 billion in building affordable housing, and Facebook’s October commitment of $1 billion toward fighting the housing crisis.
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Many have found the cost of living and housing beyond their means in San Francisco, which now commands a median home price of $1.4 million, according to real estate brokerage firm Redfin. Other high costs include expensive private schools, $5 a gallon gas and pricey restaurants.
Nearly 30,000 left San Francisco from April to June, and homeownership in the Bay Area is at a seven-year low, according to data Apple cited from Redfin and Census figures analyzed by the Bay Area news outlet The Mercury News.
A breakdown of Apple’s donations: $1 billion each to an affordable housing investment fund to provide the state with “an open line of credit” to foster lower-cost building, and a first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund; $300 million of Apple-owned land in San Jose and other land toward affordable housing; $150 million for a Bay Area housing fund, and $50 million to support vulnerable populations.
Apple expects it will take about two years for its donations to be fully utilized.
Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom called Apple’s pledge an “unparalleled financial commitment” toward combating the housing crisis in the Bay Area. “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,” he said in a statement included in Apple’s announcement. “This partnership with Apple will allow the state of California to do just that.”
The company listed one of the first projects to benefit from its donation as Destination: Home, a Santa Clara County public-private group aimed at ending homelessness.
“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,” Cook said.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.