On Wednesday, Google announced that it will donate $50 million to Housing Trust Silicon Valley, a nonprofit that offers loans for affordable housing, as the first step in its much-touted $1 billion Bay Area housing plan.
Google’s announcement singles out the Housing Trust’s “TECH” (Tech + Equity + Community + Housing) program, which “[creates] opportunities for philanthropists and large Bay Area employers to provide resources to be part of the affordable housing solution,” founded in 2017 by an initial donation from Cisco.
Note that “TECH Fund investors receive a modest return on their investments in addition to the original investment being repaid after ten years,” meaning that Google is, in effect, loaning the money to the nonprofit, which hopes to use it to build 10,000 new homes before the decade ends.
Google also says this is “the company’s first investment from its $250 million affordable housing fund,” which is itself a portion of the $1 billion housing plan the company announced in June.
The majority of Google’s investment—$750 million—will take the form of “repurposed land” for housing development, but the affordable housing fund is liquid and “provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units,” as the company said at the time.
Google’s target of 20,000 homes by 2030, or 1,818 homes each year starting this year, is fairly modest compared to the rate at which cities like San Jose and San Francisco are already approving housing on their own.
But it comes in response to increasing public criticism that Silicon Valley companies that create housing demand should do more to help alleviate shortages.