Silicon Valley is in the midst of an affordability crisis. With rapidly rising home values, the region is simply running out of low- and middle-income housing. Facebook, whose lucrative IPO and well-paid employees arguably helped kicked off the uptick in housing costs, has now agreed to contribute to affordable housing efforts as a part of their deal with the city of Menlo Park, California to further expand Facebook HQ.
The social media giant is putting $18.5 million into the Catalyst Housing Fund, a new coalition of local community groups and governments dedicated to the creation of affordable housing in the area. Another $250,000 is going the non-profit Rebuilding Together Peninsula, which supports low-income homeowners with home renovations and repairs. In addition to housing-related contributions, Facebook is also contributing $625,000 toward job training and placement programs and $500,000 to fund legal support for tenants fighting displacement, hazardous living conditions, or unfair treatment from landlords.
The full $20 million will be dispersed over the next five years and represents the company’s largest contribution to combat the area’s affordability crisis. These efforts will be concentrated in East Palo Alto and the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park.
“We haven’t seen a tech tycoon and a low-income community come together in this way before,” Tameeka Bennett, a native of East Palo Alto and the executive director of Youth United Community Action, tells The Mercury News. “And we’re hoping it can be a model for other communities like ours that are facing this same issue.”