Sundar Pichai, CEO, Published June 18, 2019
As we work to build a more helpful Google, we know our responsibility to help starts at home. For us, that means being a good neighbor in the place where it all began over 20 years ago: the San Francisco Bay Area.
Today, Google is one of the Bay Area’s largest employers. Across the region, one issue stands out as particularly urgent and complex: housing. The lack of new supply, combined with the rising cost of living, has resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents. As Google grows throughout the Bay Area—whether it’s in our home town of Mountain View, in San Francisco, or in our future developments in San Jose and Sunnyvale—we’ve invested in developing housing that meets the needs of these communities. But there’s more to do.
Today we’re announcing an additional $1 billion investment in housing across the Bay Area.
First, over the next 10 years, we’ll repurpose at least $750 million of Google’s land, most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, as residential housing. This will enable us to support the development of at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including housing options for middle and low-income families. (By way of comparison, 3,000 total homes were built in the South Bay in 2018). We hope this plays a role in addressing the chronic shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low income residents.
Second, we’ll establish a $250 million investment fund so that we can provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market.
In addition to the increased supply of affordable housing these investments will help create, we will give $50 million in grants through Google.org to nonprofits focused on the issues of homelessness and displacement. This builds on the $18 million in grants we’ve given to help address homelessness over the last five years, including $3 million we gave to the newly openedSF Navigation Center and $1.5 million to affordable housing for low income veterans and households in Mountain View.
In the coming months, we’ll continue to work with local municipalities to support plans that allow residential developers to build quickly and economically. Our goal is to get housing construction started immediately, and for homes to be available in the next few years. In Mountain View, we’ve already worked with the city to change zoning in the North Bayshore area to free up land for housing, and we’re currently in productive conversations with Sunnyvale and San Jose.
Of course, affordable and quality housing is only one way we’re investing in Bay Area communities. We’re also funding community spaces that provide free access to co-working areas for nonprofits, improving transit options for the community and our employees (taking 9,000 cars off the road per day), and supporting programs for career development, education, and local businesses.
Across all of this, our goal is to help communities succeed over the long term, and make sure that everyone has access to opportunity, whether or not they work in tech. Solving a big issue like the housing shortage will take collaboration across business, government and community organizations, and we look forward to working alongside others to make the Bay Area a place where everyone who lives here can thrive.