Microsoft will spend $500 million on building affordable housing in Seattle

  • Microsoft announced that it's pledging $500 million to help alleviate Seattle's housing crisis.
  • In cities like Seattle and San Francisco, the arrival of tech giants has been linked with skyrocketing house prices.
  • Half Microsoft's money will go towards building low-income housing.

Microsoft announced in a press release on Wednesday that it is pledging $500 million to help develop affordable housing in the Seattle area.

"Median income in the region hasn't kept pace with rising housing costs, increasingly making it impossible for lower- and middle-income workers to afford to live close to where they work," Microsoft said in the statement.

Data collected by Microsoft showed that, from 2011 to 2018, the median home price in Puget Sound, a hotbed for Silicon Valley satellite offices, rose 96%, while median household income only went up 34%.

Microsoft broke its donation into three pots of cash:

  • $250 million will support low-income housing, which Microsoft hopes will "accelerate the construction of low-income housing across the region."
  • $225 million will be used as subsidies to preserve and construct middle-income housing.
  • $25 million will be donated as "philanthropic grants" to address homelessness.

The arrival of tech firms in cities like Seattle and San Francisco have been linked to climbing house prices and increased homelessness.

Recently, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff threw his support behind a proposition to tax big tech companies to help alleviate homelessness in San Francisco.

Seattle's other resident tech giant is Amazon, which successfully killed a proposed Seattle City Council tax, which would have taxed large companies $275 per employee.

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