Photo courtesy of Apple
Apple pledges $ 2.5 billion to confront California's housing crisis, in an effort to help the state alleviate a situation that has been blamed for marginalizing people in service and support jobs and creating a spike in homelessness.
"The soaring housing costs – both for homeowners and tenants – are the defining quality of life for millions of families across this state, one that can only be fixed by building more homes," Prime Minister Gavin Newsom said in an Apple statement. "This partnership with Apple will allow the state of California to do just that."
Announcement comes as California struggles with how to keep up with rising demand – after an estimate, as NPR recently noted, the state must build more than 3 million homes by 2025.
Apple's plan includes $ 1 billion to create a mortgage loan for first-time home buyers, and another $ 1 billion that will be an open line of credit to support the construction of "very low to moderate income housing," the company said.
People who want to own or rent a home in California are increasingly getting tight offers in areas of high demand. While the crisis is wide-reaching, the struggle to find new housing at an affordable price is even more daunting for the millions of people who have not benefited from the technology boom that has turned anyone into billionaires.
The result is that in a state known for nurturing innovative ideas in garages, a number of people have lived in their vehicles because of the high cost of rent – including some lower-paid technicians. Communities from Los Angeles to the Bay Area have been criticized for banning or restricting people's ability to live in cars and cars.
"Apple is committed to being a good neighbor and helping to write the next chapter in the region that has been a great home for innovation and creativity for generations," said Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president for environment, politics and social initiatives.
About 45% of California residents rent their homes, according to the latest figures from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. It adds that among tenants, the average hourly wage is $ 22.79 – but to afford affordable market rent for a two-bedroom house, a tenant must earn $ 34.69 an hour.
Apple's home offering follows great commitments from other tech giants. Both Facebook and Google have pledged a billion dollars in recent months. In January, Microsoft invested $ 500 million to ease similar pressures near its Seattle headquarters.
Jackson says Apple designed its approach to match the breadth of the housing crisis, from helping first-time home buyers to supporting philanthropies that support people most at risk of experiencing homelessness.
California's poverty rate has fallen in each of the last five years, according to the latest American Community Survey report from the US Census Bureau. But the state's income inequality is also one of the worst in the United States, the same report found. And of all the states that had higher than average income inequality in 2018, California was the only one where the income gap became even larger last year.
"Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride," Apple CEO Tim Cook said. "When these things fall out of reach for many, we know that the course we're on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution."
Here's the company's $ 2.5 billion breakdown in aid:  $ 1 billion affordable housing investment fund