In an effort to offset the impact the company has had on Seattle’s housing market, Microsoft has pledged $500 million to help build middle and low-income housing in the area, according to the New York Times.
Host cities for big tech companies have seen their housing markets shift, with many residents being pushed out when they can no longer afford rent and other expenses. Amazon, which is also headquartered in Seattle, recently received backlash from Washington, D.C. and New York City residents after announcing that it is building its joint headquarters in the cities.
According to a report by Zillow, although incomes in some of America’s more expensive housing markets are typically higher than other cities, they have not been able to keep up with housing costs — this puts renters in a bind and increases the risk of homelessness.
New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle are some of the priciest housing markets in the country. People in these areas who typically spend 32 percent of their income on rent can expect a more rapid increase in their chances of homelessness.
Tech companies like Amazon and Salesforce have created initiatives to address the rising homelessness rates in their respective cities, while other companies have gone as far as to build homes for their employees. In November, Airbnb announced its donation of $5 million to help San Francisco’s homeless population after residents voted to implement a “homelessness tax” on big businesses housed in the city.
Microsoft’s $500 million pledge will be split into grants, loans and building projects for Seattle. The company is lending $225 million at subsidized rates to build and repair existing middle-income housing and $250 million to low-income housing. The rest of the money will be used as grants for organizations targeting homelessness in the area.