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Facebook Announces First Affordable Housing Projects In $150M Initiative To Help Solve Housing Crunch

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Facebook gave the thumbs up to four new housing projects in the Bay Area, targeting people living on the streets, people in danger of becoming homeless and the very low income.

"We all live in communities that are facing homelessness crisis," said Anu Natarajan, who heads up Facebook's Housing Initiative.

The initiative has committed $150 million to help solve the housing crisis.

On Wednesday, the company announced the first four projects including Lighthouse at Grace, which will transform a former fraternity house near San Jose State into a multi-story complex with around 100 units.

FB Affordable Housing
Artist's rendering of an affordable housing development in San Jose funded by Facebook's $150 million initiative. (CBS)

"We see folks who are in need. We see our unhoused neighbors every day when we come to work. I believe we are all part of this and in this together. And Facebook employees as much as anyone else, is impacted by what's happening in our communities," Natarajan told KPIX 5.

Other projects will be in San Jose, Alameda County and a former tech site in Sunnyvale, where Facebook's funding allowed one of its partners to buy the land for $14 million.

"It's really the hottest commercial real estate market on the planet. So, one of our biggest challenges in creating affordable housing is just securing the land, so this is tremendously helpful," said Matt Franklin, President and CEO of Mid Pen Housing Corporation, which is working with Facebook to build a new complex near Lawrence Expressway.

Facebook's initiative drew praise from homeless advocates.

"We're grateful, for everything they do, the projects, the millions they give," said Pastor Scott Waters of CHAM Deliverance Ministries, which delivers food and supplies every week to homeless camps.

Wagers said the problem has gotten so bad, even more is needed.

"Tech has a big role to play," he told KPIX 5. "If they can give land, if they can keep giving money, we encourage them to partner with advocates to really learn from the ground up."

Facebook's announced projects will house about 400 people, but there are about 10,000 unhoused in Santa Clara County alone.

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