Facebook will invest $150M to build affordable housing in Bay Area

Tech companies have come under scrutiny for their role in driving up rents and home prices in parts of California

Mark Zuckerberg (Getty, iStock)
Mark Zuckerberg (Getty, iStock)

Facebook plans to invest $150 million to build 2,000 homes for low-income residents in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Silicon Valley-based social media giant said Wednesday the money would support the development of affordable homes for families making less than 30 percent of the region’s median income.

The funds will be available to local governments and nonprofit groups in the form of low-interest loans. Projects in San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties are eligible. The company wants to distribute all of the money by 2026.

Facebook’s program is part of a $1 billion housing investment plan the company announced last year. Google and Apple are undertaking similar initiatives.

Tech companies have come under scrutiny for their role in driving up rents and home prices in the Bay Area, contributing to the affordability crisis and pushing people into homelessness.

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The rise of remote working amid the pandemic has driven down rents in San Francisco, although pricing remains high.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, who praised Facebook’s announcement, early last year called on tech companies to loan money in a fund to build housing across the states, which led to companies formulating their own programs last year.

Affordable housing rents are calculated based on area median income, a federally designated measure of affordability based on what all people in that area earn. The Department of Housing and Urban Development considers Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties as one area with a median income of $143,100.

HUD takes into account family size — a family of four with a household income of $52,200 is eligible for housing reserved for families making less than 30 percent AMI. A single person with an income of $36,550 also qualifies.

Santa Clara County — where Facebook has committed one-third of its funding — has a slightly lower AMI that allows families making $47,350 eligible for such housing.