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Giving Compass' Take:
• Vernal Coleman and Mike Rosenburg explain Microsoft's recent pledge of $500 million to promote the development of affordable housing in King County.
• The authors indicate that, even if the fund accomplishes its goal of creating tens of thousands of affordable housing opportunitities, this will fall far short of the 305,000 affordable units needed to fill the region's gap. How can affordable housing advocates in Seattle help to limit the cost of development to make a complete solution more manageable?
• For more on solutions targeting the affordable housing crisis, click here.
Redmond tech giant Microsoft is responding to the region's widening affordability gap with a $500 million pledge to address homelessness and develop affordable housing across the Puget Sound region.
Most of the money will be aimed at increasing housing options for low- and middle-income workers -- workers who "teach our kids in schools, and put out the fires in our houses and keep us alive in the hospital," said Microsoft President Brad Smith -- at a time when they're being priced out of Seattle and parts of the Eastside, and when the vast majority of new buildings target wealthier renters.
Microsoft will loan $225 million at below-market interest rates to help developers facing high land and construction costs build and preserve "workforce housing" on the Eastside, where the company has 50,000 workers and is planning for more. The developments will be aimed at households making between $62,000 and $124,000 per year.
Another $250 million will go toward market-rate loans for construction of affordable housing across the Puget Sound region for people making up to 60 percent of the local median income ($48,150 for a two-person household). Microsoft plans to dole out the $475 million in capital investment over three years.
The remaining $25 million will be donated to services for the region's low-income and homeless residents. Out of that amount, the company will give $5 million to an effort backed by the Seattle Mariners to beef up staffing at a King County Bar Association legal clinic for tenants facing eviction, and another $5 million to support Seattle and King County's push to consolidate their homelessness services.
Read the full article about the affordable housing crisis by Vernal Coleman and Mike Rosenberg at Governing Magazine.