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Facebook CEO's Foundation, companies to raise $ 500 million for San Francisco-Area Housing



Companies and philanthropists in the San Francisco Bay Area, including

Facebook
Inc.

Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said they are planning to raise $ 500 million for affordable housing, weeks after California Gov. Newsvold called on the private sector to do more to counter the region's critical housing shortage.

The investment fund, which has raised $ 260 million so far, aims to help build at least 8,000 homes in five Bay Area counties within the next 10 years, according to its leaders. It will also work to preserve homes at risk of being converted into more expensive properties.

The fund is part of a larger project led by Zuckerberg's philanthropy arm with his wife Priscilla Chan, called Chan Zuckerberg Initiative; San Francisco Foundation, a great community donor; and other philanthropy groups. They aim to coordinate solutions to housing shortages. The Fund's early contributors include

Morgan Stanley

and the biotech company Genentech Inc.

Mr. Newsom, the state's new democratic governor, earmarked $ 500 million for middle-income housing in its first proposed budget. He has called "corporate California" and Silicon Valley in particular to match the state's contribution.

The San Francisco area initiative follows a similar announcement last week in Seattle, where Microsoft Corp. committed nearly $ 500 million to support affordable housing in the area, the company's biggest financial commitment to a single community problem.

The new fund will target homes in Silicon Valley and the surrounding areas where a population boom run by highly-paid technicians has left home prices out of reach for many lower-income workers, including teachers, restaurant staff and nurses.

Since 201

0, the region has gained over 700,000 jobs, but built just over 100,000 residential units, according to regional agencies. The area's Transport Commission prepares 1.3 million new jobs and 820,000 new households by 2040. A recent study involving local government projects will need the region to build 35,000 units a year to keep up with population growth.

Judith Bell, the San Francisco Foundation's vice president of the programs, said the initiative was born of "the incredible daily pressures almost all residents here feel about homes, especially low-income families, and how much it affects employers. in technology, nonprofit, health and service sectors. "

She and other non-profit leaders said the effort has been in work for two years, but it has taken time to hold conversations with communities and identify housing needs.

Affordable housing has been a hot-button problem in tech hubs. Rising house prices have led communities, including Seattle and Silicon Valley, to consider introducing a company tax on large companies to raise funds. Such a tax went to Seattle, but was later revoked. In Cupertino, California, where

Apple
Inc.

has its headquarters, local lawmakers supported by a similar tax after professional opposition.

In San Francisco, Salesforce.com Inc. Supported CEO Marc Benioff a tax measure approved in November elections to increase a gross receipt tax on the city's new businesses to fund homelessness programs.

The new Bay Area fund involving Mr. Zuckerberg will offer flexible loans and other forms of financing that are usually not available to affordable housing builders and community groups, says Local Initiatives Support Corporation nonprofit managers.

A separate $ 40 million fund will provide scholarships for cities and localities to get the resources and expertise they need to increase affordable housing. This fund has so far raised $ 20 million, including $ 10 million from the Chan Zuckerberg initiative and $ 1 million from Facebook.

Nonprofit and local government leaders said there was a long way to generating broad political support to build more homes, especially for lower-income residents in societies traditionally resilient to neighborhood change.

"Our housing crisis calls for all hands on deck," said California Assembly member David Chiu, representing a district that includes eastern San Francisco and chairing the congregation housing committee. "Everyone would agree that the success of our economies has worsened our housing crisis," Chiu said.

Write to Nour Malas at nour.malas@wsj.com


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