Going all in
It looks like Facebook is doubling down on its quest to solve affordable housing. In a press release, Facebook announced that the Local Initiatives Support Corporation would manage Facebook’s affordable housing investment.
The organization will take Facebook’s initial $18.5 million investment and leverage up to $75 million dollars to build affordable housing starting in the fall of this year.
Catalyst Housing Fund
The initial investment, called the Catalyst Housing fund, was dispersed amongst a number of local organizations to develop solutions to the housing pricing in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park. According to the press release, “Since the announcement of the community partnership in December, the partners have provided $500,000 to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) to support Belle Haven and East Palo Alto residents threatened with displacement from evictions or abuse by landlords. The partners have also contributed $250,000 to Rebuilding Together Peninsula to rehabilitate and reconstruct homes in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.”
This new step will focus the investment on building affordable units in the city, which is congruent with other Facebook efforts.
In July, Facebook announced the development of the Willow campus across from its Menlo Park office; over 200 of the 1500 housing units on campus would be priced below market rate, and they would be open to people outside of Facebook’s employment pool.
Pump up availability
According to the most recent press release, Facebook also has its sight set on government efforts to increase affordable housing availability.
“We are encouraged by the streamlining and affordable housing funding bills currently under consideration by the state of California. We see the need for policy and funding solutions to work in tandem, and see the Catalyst Housing Fund as an opportunity to advance the supply of housing for families most in need.”
Heads up move FB
As far as philanthropic moves go, it’s a smart play for a major Silicon Valley player. Companies like Facebook have been creating an intense demand for highly-skilled workers due to their overwhelming success.
That influx of workers has strained the housing market severely; fewer dwellings are available, and prices continue to soar. And that’s all before you address the traffic problem, too. By building housing near its campus, and make it available to the broader community, Facebook is taking a step in the right direction for corporate responsibility.