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Google gives an update on its $1B commitment to combat Bay Area housing crisis

Three years later, tech giant says it's investing in nonprofits and aims to build thousands of new homes

Google projects like the North Bayshore Master Plan aim to bring thousands of new homes to Mountain View, though it's going to take decades to come to fruition. Courtesy Google.

Three years after pledging to invest $1 billion toward increasing the Bay Area's housing supply and supporting organizations that combat homelessness, Google released an update on how this commitment is unfolding.

So far, the tech behemoth has allocated $128 million of a $250 million investment fund to 18 organizations, which resulted in the development of 23 affordable housing projects across the Bay Area, according to a July 25 statement. The other chunk of the $1 billion commitment will be in the form of land — the company is pushing forward a number of housing projects on Google-owned land worth $750 million.

"We've worked closely with elected officials and residents to propose plans where residential units, offices, retail spaces and open space will coexist on our land," Google said in the statement.

All together, Google aims to build close to 13,000 units of housing across the south Bay Area, the majority of which are planned for Mountain View. The San Jose City Council approved Google's Downtown West project in May 2021, which calls for 4,000 housing units. The company has also submitted plans for two mixed-use developments in Mountain View — the Middlefield Park and North Bayshore master plans — which together will generate nearly 9,000 housing units in the coming decades.

"While we've made progress across the Bay Area through funding and land allocation, we know that's only part of the solution," the July 25 statement said. "Fighting the housing crisis requires innovation and collaboration across the community. So today, we're also sharing how we're using philanthropy to test new methods of intervention with trusted nonprofit leaders."

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The company announced that over the next three years, it will be distributing more than $10 million to Bay Area nonprofits in grants and pro bono support in the form of technical expertise provided at no cost, said Google Communications Manager Bailey Tomson.

"With this $10 million in grant funding, we've granted a total of $18 million of our 2019 Google.org commitment to Bay Area nonprofits providing services like food distribution, job training and case management," the statement said. "Through these grants, these organizations will help provide services to more than 90,000 people and house 10,000 individuals over the span of four years."

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Malea Martin covers the city hall beat in Mountain View. Before joining the Mountain View Voice in 2022, she covered local politics and education for New Times San Luis Obispo, a weekly newspaper on the Central Coast of California. Read more >>

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Google gives an update on its $1B commitment to combat Bay Area housing crisis

Three years later, tech giant says it's investing in nonprofits and aims to build thousands of new homes

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Jul 26, 2022, 8:47 am

Three years after pledging to invest $1 billion toward increasing the Bay Area's housing supply and supporting organizations that combat homelessness, Google released an update on how this commitment is unfolding.

So far, the tech behemoth has allocated $128 million of a $250 million investment fund to 18 organizations, which resulted in the development of 23 affordable housing projects across the Bay Area, according to a July 25 statement. The other chunk of the $1 billion commitment will be in the form of land — the company is pushing forward a number of housing projects on Google-owned land worth $750 million.

"We've worked closely with elected officials and residents to propose plans where residential units, offices, retail spaces and open space will coexist on our land," Google said in the statement.

All together, Google aims to build close to 13,000 units of housing across the south Bay Area, the majority of which are planned for Mountain View. The San Jose City Council approved Google's Downtown West project in May 2021, which calls for 4,000 housing units. The company has also submitted plans for two mixed-use developments in Mountain View — the Middlefield Park and North Bayshore master plans — which together will generate nearly 9,000 housing units in the coming decades.

"While we've made progress across the Bay Area through funding and land allocation, we know that's only part of the solution," the July 25 statement said. "Fighting the housing crisis requires innovation and collaboration across the community. So today, we're also sharing how we're using philanthropy to test new methods of intervention with trusted nonprofit leaders."

The company announced that over the next three years, it will be distributing more than $10 million to Bay Area nonprofits in grants and pro bono support in the form of technical expertise provided at no cost, said Google Communications Manager Bailey Tomson.

"With this $10 million in grant funding, we've granted a total of $18 million of our 2019 Google.org commitment to Bay Area nonprofits providing services like food distribution, job training and case management," the statement said. "Through these grants, these organizations will help provide services to more than 90,000 people and house 10,000 individuals over the span of four years."

Comments

Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2022 at 10:39 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 10:39 am

"All together, Google aims to build close to 13,000 units of housing across the south Bay Area, the majority of which are planned for Mountain View. "


Without knowing more about past and present plans for employees and contractors this number is meaningless.


Paige
Registered user
another community
on Jul 26, 2022 at 11:02 am
Paige, another community
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 11:02 am

The numbers don't quite work. According to this LA Times article "affordable" units now cost about $1M per unit. Web Link

That means $1B would produce 1000 affordable units. Now, maybe Google can do better than $1M/du, but 13,000 units for $1B?

The article doesn't tell us two things.

One, noted in the comment above; what is the "net" housing difference between Google supplied housing and Google employment?

And two, are the housing projects listed in this article funded out of the $1B or are they simply market rate projects Google is building, largely, for its own employees?

Of course Google will build housing to enable its own employment growth. That is not the issue. The issue is if Google employment exceeds Google supplied housing then higher-paid Google employees will crowd-out existing lower-paid, non-Google residents for existing housing stock.

Increasing net housing deficits creates a game of reverse musical chairs. Adding players for whom there is no chair. A Google net housing imbalance will cause more gentrification and out-migration.


MyFeelz
Registered user
JLS Middle School
on Jul 26, 2022 at 11:42 am
MyFeelz, JLS Middle School
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 11:42 am

During the end of the COVID lockdown, Google's response was to have all of the RV'ers who lined the streets of their all but empty parking lots removed. That's a great way to use "philanthropy to test new methods of intervention". Way to go. I look at what they DO, as opposed to what they SAY they "want" to do. There's a mismatch there.


Citizen
Registered user
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2022 at 5:04 pm
Citizen, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 5:04 pm

Recap:

Bay Area: attractive employment center w/great quality of life, ie, very expensive/desirable for decades.

Large tech employers: concentrate workers in 5 cities, incl SF/Bay Area. Income inequality/influx of workers crowd out diverse populations of ordinary people/small businesses.

Developers: build willy nilly, ignore limits like infrastructure, disaster vulnerability, climate change/urban heat sinks, drought, on false premise that it's possible to fix this by ignoring infinitely more fluid demand side. Safety experts say density will cost lives in next disaster; economic experts say for first time, living in cities DECREASES opportunity for middle/low-skill workers.

Building willy nilly: accepted as proxy for creating affordability.

Increased density/urbanization: predictably, increased ills of density/urbanization without creating affordability

Safety/QoL: e.g.,density, pollution, traffic circulation (time), noise, crowding, loss of small businesses/economic diversity,etc, get called nimby and ignored so big companies have free rein. Public left w/consequences; partisans claim ills are from "liberal" caring. Profit privatized, consequences socialized.

A train wreck in waiting, whether by pandemic, earthquake, recession. Whole region made vulnerable to sudden large shifts in demand side, esp as quality of life was irretrievably hurt.

With Covid, suddenly rich people left SF. Companies did what was always in their power, let people work remotely.

People left for a BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE they could afford.

It caused vacancies/small reductions in housing costs NOT affordability, but now, consequences of densification/urbanization remained with reduced tax base to cope.

We cannot afford to remain on autopilot like this.

This: bandaid for wounds Google and others unwittingly inflicted. We can/should protect quality of life and think how the region can remain decent place to live for a diversity of people, incl those who don’t make google tech $$.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 26, 2022 at 7:02 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Yup. Citizen's exactly right. Big tech is pushing up housing prices wherever they go, displacing lots of people and ruining existing neighborhoods. It's a national issue. Check out the percentage price increases across the country.

Remember that of all the homes slated to be built only 15% of them are required to be "affordable" and very few of that 15% is for "low" and "veru low" income.


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2022 at 8:05 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Jul 26, 2022 at 8:05 pm

Which non profits? Do tell. I am a non profit. Can Google give me a $million dollars? Or at least provide me a good, quality, BMR home to rent?


JR
Registered user
Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2022 at 7:10 am
JR, Palo Verde
Registered user
on Jul 27, 2022 at 7:10 am

Google is not interested in affordable housing for residents and families. They are spending $1 billion to make sure that their future tech bros have a place to live so that they can take the G-Bus to their G-Office and eat G-Lunch and G-Dinner getting G-Haircuts without interacting with one member of the real community. The 20-23 year olds making $12K per month are disgusted by your 70s apartment complex but bulldozing it and building a high rise would house hundreds of tech bros. It's a $1 billion gentrification project basically, and you are the target.


JB
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jul 27, 2022 at 9:14 pm
JB, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jul 27, 2022 at 9:14 pm

Does Mountain View actually have enough available land to accommodate 13,000 housing units?


Native to the BAY
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2022 at 9:07 pm
Native to the BAY, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Aug 2, 2022 at 9:07 pm

So why does not Google partner w Sabroto and City for all income level housing at former Fry’s site? inclusionary housing, yes. H1-B workers is a HUGE concern. Please ensure inclusion of ALL income levels. So the city, Sobrato, Google team team up w %15 set set aside for work for wages force — you know those who clean up the offices, your homes, rear your children etc. is this such a bad idea??


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