January 18, 2019 | By the GCR staff
In an attempt to address a housing crisis that the success of companies like it helped create, software giant Microsoft will invest $ 500 million in the provision of affordable housing in the Puget Sound region of Washington state, where is its headquarters.
On Wednesday (January 16), the company said that housing costs have risen throughout the region, including Seattle, Redmond's home at Microsoft, and nine smaller cities, which affect low-income people and means.
Thanks to the success of Microsoft, Amazon and other technology companies in the area, Puget Sound has become the sixth most expensive region in the country, where a 21% increase in jobs since 2011 has been found with only an increase of 13% in housing units, Microsoft said after an eight-month investigation into the issue.
While the technical staff of these firms can enjoy the security of the home, teachers, nurses, lifeguards and other workers face long journeys and homelessness, Microsoft President Brad Smith and financial director Amy Hood , wrote in a blog, noting that Microsoft was established in the city. In 1979 with only 30 employees.
"If we are going to move forward, we must all work together as a community," they said.
"Ultimately, a healthy company must be part of a healthy community. And a healthy community must have homes within the economic reach of every part of the community, including the many dedicated people who provide the vital services we all trust. "
Most of the cash will be disbursed over the next three years in the form of loans worth $ 475 million and a $ 25 million grant to address the lack of housing.
Microsoft will lend $ 225 million to yields below the market rate to preserve and develop new housing for middle-income people in King & # 39; s Eastside County, and $ 250 million at market rates to support low-income housing. throughout the King County region.
Twenty-five million dollars in "philanthropic grants" are offered to address homelessness. Two initial commitments include $ 5 million for local non-profit organizations to prevent people from becoming homeless by providing legal representation, help with overdue income, and offering help to social workers; and $ 5 million to help the City of Seattle and King County create a "consolidated entity" to address homelessness.
Accompanying Microsoft's announcement, a joint statement was made by the mayors of nine of Seattle's largest cities to "take action" to increase the capacity of affordable housing.
The mayors of Auburn, Bellevue, Federal Way, Issaquah, Kent, Kirkland, Redmond, Renton and Sammamish will "consider changes" in the zoning to increase the supply of housing in selected areas, providing desirable public lands near transit sites, which will address the processes of permits and rates, and creating tax incentives for developers.
the New York Times It called Microsoft's initiative the "most ambitious effort" of a technology company to address inequality, and says it comes less than a year after Amazon resisted proposals for a new tax in Seattle for large companies to build. Affordable housing and fund services for the homeless.
Photograph: Microsoft president Brad Smith and financial director Amy Hood announcing a $ 500 million investment to address the housing crisis, January 16, 2019 (Microsoft)