Tech giant Apple is paying it forward in a big way this holiday season by pledging $2.5 billion to help fund affordable housing projects in California.
The popular tech company announced on Monday their plan to commit $2.5 billion to the housing shortage that has driven up the cost of living across California. The majority of the funds will go toward housing projects either run with or by the state government.
According to the announcement, one billion dollars will go to a jointly run fund with state officials that will begin working on delayed or stalled affordable housing projects in California. Another $1 billion will go to a state-run fund to provide first-time homebuyer financial assistance to teachers, nurses and first responders such as police and firefighters, among others, NY Post reports.
CEO Tim Cook spoke with Reuters and shared how the company felt a “profound responsibility” to improve California’s housing crisis when considering the Apple headquarters being located in Cupertino, California — less than five miles from the suburban family home where co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak assembled the first Apple computers in the 1970s.
“We want to make sure that it is a vibrant place where people can live and also raise a family,” Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters in an interview. “And there’s no question that today that isn’t possible for many people, that the region suffers from an affordability crisis that is existential.”
Apple’s pledge comes after Facebook and Google both committed $1 billion to California’s housing initiatives while Microsoft Corp committed $500 million toward housing initiatives in the Seattle, Washington area.
While the funding could take two years to deploy, Apple said, the company hopes to recycle the funds for future projects over the next five years.
“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,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
Despite criticism the tech giant received from local residents over the rise in the cost of living due to what many believe is because of their headquarters, Apple is set to make available about 42 acres of land in northern San Jose, California in hopes of creating nearly 3,800 affordable housing units. The company will also donate $150 million to a Bay Area affordable housing fund and $50 million to Destination: Home, a public-private group addressing homelessness in Silicon Valley.
“Tech has grown a lot, and it has become a larger portion of the economy,” Cook said. “We’d like to be part of the solution, so that’s why we’re jumping in.”