Facebook and others pledge hundreds of millions of dollars toward affordable housing in Bay Area

  • Facebook, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Genentech are among participants in the new group.
  • The partnership has secured $260 million of an expected $500 million for a fund that will focus on preserving and building housing across the Bay Area.
  • Microsoft announced a similar initiative recently in the Seattle area.
Mark Zuckerberg (R), founder and CEO of Facebook, and wife Priscilla Chan arrive on the red carpet during the 2nd annual Breakthrough Prize Award in Mountain View, California November 9, 2014.
Mark Zuckerberg (R), founder and CEO of Facebook, and wife Priscilla Chan arrive on the red carpet during the 2nd annual Breakthrough Prize Award in Mountain View, California November 9, 2014.

Facebook and the nonprofit Chan Zuckerberg Initiative are among the participants in a new group that's promising to commit hundreds of millions of dollars to expanding the availability of affordable housing in the Bay Area.

The group — the Partnership for the Bay's Future — said on Thursday that it's creating two funds. The first is an investment fund that will focus on protecting up to 175,000 households and producing thousands more homes in the five main counties in and around San Francisco. The second fund will work on policy issues, expanding housing and "strengthening low-income tenant protections," the group said.

The announcement follows a similar effort by Microsoft, which said last week that it was pledging $500 million toward addressing homelessness and developing affordable housing in the Seattle region. Seattle and the Bay Area are home to the world's most valuable tech companies and have among the biggest homeless populations in the country.

CZI, the foundation started by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, is launching the group alongside Facebook, Genentech, Kaiser Permanente, the Ford Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and other organizations.

"This is a problem that exists that impacts the greater community," Chan told Bloomberg's Emily Chang in an interview on Thursday. Tech companies "want to be able to be part of building Seattle or the Bay Area into a place that people from all different backgrounds can come and be successful."

The investment fund has secured more than $260 million of the $500 million that it's targeting. The policy fund has secured close to $20 million and aims to reach $40 million. The group said in the press release that two full-time workers making a combined $62,000 a year can only afford to live in 5 percent of neighborhoods in the area.

The dearth of affordable housing is "limiting growth by driving middle- and low-income families out of the region," the group said in the statement.

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