In partnership with Gavin Newsom, Apple has pledged $2.5 billion to ameliorate California’s housing crisis. Critics on the left have pointed out that Apple is simply entering into the real estate business.
By Chand Bellur
November 6, 2019 at 3:37 p.m. PDT
Apple Pledges $2.5 Billion to Address California Housing Crisis
California is a victim of its own success. Home to Google, Apple, Facebook and other tech companies, an influx of wealth has made housing expensive, even for tech workers.
Teachers, first responders, artists, musicians and others who work outside of tech have been forced out of the area. Beyond unaffordable housing, the very character of the Bay Area has changed. Once liberal and progressive, an influx of conservative, monetarily motivated individuals has forever altered this region, once known for its tolerance and idealism.
These two factors have resulted in one of the worst housing crises in California history. An influx of wealth has raised property values and political indifference has put off a solution for decades. The housing crisis began in the late 1990s, during the .com boom, and continues today, with little impetus for change.
Apple and other tech companies have taken it upon themselves to address this crisis, mainly by entering into the loan business. Apple’s plan pledges the bulk of its endowment to home loans, with a small amount dedicated to providing housing for the poorest individuals.
According to Apple’s press release, the plan consists of multiple efforts:
- $1 billion for an affordable housing investment fund
- $1 billion for first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance
- $300 million for Apple’s own real estate development effort to create new, affordable housing
- $200 million for low-income housing
Critics Point Out That Apple is Just Entering the Home Loan Business
Critics pounced on Apple’s plan shortly after it was unveiled. They point out that, along with Facebook and Microsoft, Apple is simply entering into the real estate business.
The bulk of the Cupertino tech giant’s fund goes to home loans and real estate development. Apple will profit from this, however, they claim that capital will be reinvested in future projects, with no specifics as to what they will be. Future projects could very well be development of new Apple products.
Not all Silicon Valley elite have been so duplicitous when it comes to helping the homeless. Salesforce CEO and native San Franciscan Mark Benioff famously spent $100 million of his own money to support a ballot initiative that would help the homeless of San Francisco. Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey and mayor London Breed all fought against this measure, as it would levy taxes on the wealthy tech corporations that caused the crisis in the first place.
The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a champion of progressive values. The influx of tech carpetbaggers has changed the culture in significant ways. Empathy has given way to a robber baron culture, which harkens back to the days of Leyland Stanford. It’s a winner take all mentality that displaces artists, musicians, teachers and other professionals who aren’t consumed with aggregating wealth.
Apple, a company that pays some employees as little as $10 an hour, seems to be using the housing crisis to deceive the public. Their own Apple Store employees in the San Francisco Bay Area can’t even afford a studio apartment. Overall, Apple’s intentions seem grand, but the reality is quite different.