Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MFST) is investing USD 500 Million to makes homes more affordable in the Seattle area, making it the latest major tech company to address local housing issues, as per CNN.
The majority of the investment will go towards increasing housing options in the Puget Sound region for low – and middle-income workers at a time when they’re being priced out of Seattle and some of its suburbs, and when the vast majority of new buildings target wealthier renters, said Microsoft President Brad Smith.
The pledge is the largest in the company’s 44-year history, The Seattle Times reported. In comparison, the amount trumps the USD 100 million in annual funding for Washington state’s Housing Trust Fund.
The initiative comes as Microsoft and other tech giants that have driven the region’s economic boom face increasing pressure to help mitigate affordable-housing shortages, as stated by NBC. Microsoft hopes that other companies will follow suit, and for Seattle’s Eastside suburbs to facilitate more housing.
The Company is expected to split the fund three ways. According to NBC, It will loan USD 225 Million at below-market interest rates to help developers facing high land and construction costs. It will also help build and preserve “workforce housing” on the Eastside, where the Company has 50,000 workers and is planning for more. Another USD 250 Million will go toward market-rate loans for construction of affordable housing for people in the Puget Sound region making up to 60% of the local medium income. The remaining USD 25 Million would be allocated towards services for the region’s low income and homeless residents.
“At some level we as a region are going to need to either say there are certain areas where we’re comfortable having more people live, or we just want permanently to force the people who are going to teach our kids in schools, and put out the fires in our houses and keep us alive in the hospital, and put out the fires in our houses and keep us alive in the hospital, to spend four hours every day getting to and from work,” Microsoft President Brad Smith said. “That is not, in our view, the best outcome for our community.”
“It will take years of dedicated work for the region to put this problem behind it,” Microsoft President Brad Smith and Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood added. “We’ll all need to learn and work together to ensure that everyone in our community has not just a roof over their head, but a place they can call their home.”