On Thursday, Microsoft announced that it will spend $ 500 million to build affordable housing and fight homelessness in the Seattle region. It comes after years of debate and proposed solutions among the community.
But threats of a head tax in Seattle were not an inspiring factor for the company.
"Microsoft is not based in Seattle," Microsoft President Brad Smith told Seattle's Morning News. "The main tax was not really a problem that would ever affect us. I think the debate has called for everyone to think more. But regardless of the main tax negotiations, we have just reached, in 201
Also called an "Amazon tax" by some city councilors who argued for the rich companies that Microsoft should pay for affordable housing. The Seattle main tax was designed to take money from the city's largest companies to achieve this. But was lifted a month after it was passed. It suggested raising $ 86 million a year for affordable housing.
Microsoft offers much more than that. Smith said the company will ensure that $ 500 million is moving rapidly towards the problem. The company spent eight months studying the topics and what it could do to contribute to a solution and look at best practices across the globe. Thursday's announcement is the result.
- $ 475 million will flow into lending; through established and new investment vehicles. It will go to low and middle income housing. $ 25 million will go to philanthropic grants to face the homelessness crisis.
The money will go towards a number of housing types designed for low and medium income fittings. Smith believes that the money will help produce tens of thousands of new entities, but says this should be a catalyst for the rest of the region. He emphasizes that affordable housing issues facing the Seattle region will take even more money than Microsoft dedicates.
"The first thing we have to do is help everyone understand the gravity and purity of the problem," Smith said. "Second, we need more capital. We are in a really lucky position as a company. We have the capital. We are incredibly grateful for the support we have always had from this community. benefit to society as a whole. "
" Most importantly, it will take much more than what we do today, "he said.
Another important step comes along with the half-billion dollar announcement, Smith Notes is a statement from nine mayors across the region – smaller cities around Seattle. Smith expects city councils to adopt new policies to stimulate new housing.
"It will take changes to zoning and land use and parking restrictions, and much blocking and tackling to free up construction funds to get affordable housing built," said Smith.
"We need communities where teachers who teach our children where police officers and first responders keep us safe can actually live with the rest of us," he said. "We need a community where people working in businesses, including Microsoft, the people who run our trenches, work in our cafeterias, lower paying jobs, can afford to live as well."
"The most important thing is to build more homes, it's pretty straight forward," he added.