Following the billions of dollars worth of donations already promised by Google and Facebook, Apple became the latest tech giant to fund affordable housing and homeless programs in California, pledging a total of $2.5 billion.
Apple, who is teaming up with the state of California and Governor Newsom, announced the donation Monday.
“We feel a profound civic responsibility to ensure Silicon Valley remains a vibrant place where people can live, have a family and contribute to the community,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook on Monday. “Affordable housing means stability and dignity, opportunity and pride. When these things fall out of reach for too many, we know the course we are on is unsustainable, and Apple is committed to being part of the solution.”
Of the $2.5 billion, $1 billion will help new homeowners with down payments and house payments through a mortgage assistance program. Another $1 billion will go towards an affordable housing investment fund for the state and gives a credit line to those building low-to-moderate income houses. $300 million would go affordable housing on Apple owned land in San Jose and an additional $150 million would be set aside for additional affordable housing projects.
Out of the $2.5 billion, only $50 million would go to homeless projects, specifically through the Destination: Home organization.
While the total donation has been widely praised, critics of the donation have found a lot that’s wrong with it. The Globe reached out to Daniel Baum, a housing advocate in San Jose about what the issues are with the Apple donation.
“That’s the thing, they’re not just giving money away,” said Baum. “Those two blocks of $1 billion dollars — those are credit lines and loans. They’re basically want their money back like a bank.”
“So they aren’t giving it away like a charitable donation, it’s just a business decision that’s rectifying a housing crisis companies like them started.”
“They aren’t donating that $300 million of land either. It’s a lease, which means they’ll be landlords, or it’s selling, which means they’ll get paid for the land. Again, this isn’t a donation.”
“So, out of everything, the only real things they’re giving away like a charity would is $200 million. That’s admittingly still a lot, but even that has stipulations. It’s almost all going to housing, and any other factors, such as setting up additional roads or public transit stops or whatever, that will be on the city.”
“They want to do the right thing, but they’re doing it in the most business-way possible.”
It’s not yet known when the money will start to go to those who need it, but it’s expected to be given very soon.