$500 million affordable housing fund launches in the Bay Area

The fund is poised to be one of the largest in the nation

Housing affordability has become a tremendous concern for many Americans navigating expensive West Coast housing markets, but a new partnership could provide Californians with significant relief.

Various housing advocates, tech and business leaders recently announced the launch of a regional public-private housing partnership that could potentially become the Bay Area’s largest investment toward affordable housing.

The partnership intends to provide $500 million in order to solve interconnected challenges of housing, transportation and economic opportunity in the Bay Area.

“The scope of the housing crisis requires bold action. And it also requires that all sectors come to the table to drive new solutions—the government, the private sector, philanthropies, advocates and faith leaders,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said. “This multi-sector public-private approach reflects just that—and will help move our state forward on one of the biggest issues we face.”

The partnership has already secured more than $260 million in initial funding and has launched with the support of the San Francisco Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Ford Foundation, Facebook, Genentech, Silicon Valley Community Foundation and more.

“This is a defining moment for the Bay Area region. We cannot make meaningful progress toward equity and inclusive prosperity in the region without addressing the affordable housing crisis,” San Francisco Foundation CEO Fred Blackwell said. “The Partnership, with its regional and multi-sector approach, is committed to bold solutions to solving the housing crisis and to championing equitable approaches to protection, preservation, and production.”

The investment will begin with two funds: The Investment Fund and Policy Fund, which aim to expand and protect up to 175,000 households over the next five years. The funds will also preserve and produce more than 8,000 homes over the next five to 10 years in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

The partnership will focus its first initiatives on the lack of affordable housing, as it is limiting growth and driving middle- and low-income families out of the region.

Notably, The Investment Fund has already confirmed its first transaction as a revolving line of credit to the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation, and The Policy Fund, which is led by the San Francisco Foundation, has secured almost $20 million for an intended $40 million for the fund.

“Making sure everyone has a decent, safe, and affordable home is critically important for tackling inequality in the Bay Area and other regions across America,” Ford Foundation Vice President of Inclusive Economies and Markets said Xavier de Souza Briggs said. “If housing is to be a foundation of family life and a more equitable community—not to mention a platform for health, good schools, and gainful employment—then we must reckon now with affordability as an imperative and a super-smart investment."

It’s worth noting that this announcement follows Microsoft’s recent $500 million pledge toward creating and sustaining affordable housing in Seattle.

You can read more about Microsoft’s initiative here.

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