Microsoft pledged a whopping $500 million (approximately Rs. 3,500 crores) for loans and grants that is aimed at ramping up the construction of affordable housing in the Puget Sound area of Washington state where the US technology giant is housed. Microsoft is one of Washington State’s largest employers.
Microsoft executives Amy Hood and Brad Smith, in a blog post said- “In recent years, our region hasn’t built enough housing for the people who live here. We are committing $500 million as a company to advance affordable housing solutions.“
Microsoft was aged very few years when it moved from New Mexico to the Seattle area city of Bellevue in 1979, and now it has its headquarters in nearby Redmond as well. Since 2011, the job growth in the region has been 21 percent whereas housing construction growth has been stuck at 13 percent only.
According to Hood and Smith, a gap in the available means of housing has caused the housing prices to almost double in the past eight years, and this has resulted in the greater Seattle area is the sixth most expensive region in the US.
The blog post continued- “The gap between job growth and housing growth has been even greater in the suburban cities around Seattle than in Seattle itself. This is a big problem. And it is a problem that is continuing to get worse. The $500 million pledged will be used to “help kick-start new solutions” to the housing crisis. Microsoft has plans to make $225 million available at below-market rates so as to subsidize preservation and construction of middle-income housing, that will initially target six cities in the east of Seattle and Lake Washington. Median income in the region hasn’t been in pace with rising housing costs, and it has made the situation increasingly impossible for lower- and middle-income workers to afford to live close to where they work. Teachers, nurses, first responders and many in key roles at nonprofits, businesses, and tech companies have been beginning and ending their workdays with long commutes. A total of $250 million will be made available at market rates for low-income housing development, whereas another $25 million will be devoted to philanthropic grants who have aimed at addressing homelessness. With these and similar investments, it is surely possible to lend money, accelerate progress, be repaid and then lend this money again. Our goal is to move as quickly as possible with targeted investments which will have an outsized impact.“