Google investing $1 billion to fight Bay Area housing crisis

San Francisco (CNN Business)Google is pledging $1 billion to help fight the housing crisis in the San Francisco Bay Area.The company announced Tuesday it will repurpose at least $750 million of the land it already owns in the Bay Area for residential housing. In a blog post, Google (GOOG) CEO Sundar Pichai said the land — most of which is currently zoned for commercial or industrial use — will be used to create at least 15,000 new homes at different income levels, including for middle and low-income residents.Google will also create a $250 million investment fund to incentivize developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units in the area.A shortage of affordable housing across the Bay Area is pushing out middle and low-income workers like teachers and restaurant employees. Critics say the influx of tech companies such as Google and Facebook, and their well-paid workers, have contributed to the ongoing housing crisis. In San Francisco alone, more 7,000 people are homeless, according the the city’s most recent survey.”We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents,” said Pichai wrote in a blog post.Google.org, the company’s philanthropic division, will give an additional $50 million in grants to nonprofits focused on homelessness and displacement.

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