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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Apple announced Monday that it is allocating $400 million toward affordable housing and homeowner assistance programs in California this year, as part of the $2.5 billion commitment announced in November.

Why it matters: The housing crisis has worsened in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing states and cities to pause spending on affordable housing projects.

The backdrop: Big Tech's wealth has been blamed by some for driving up housing prices in the San Francisco Bay Area and making it unaffordable for teachers, firefighters and other workers who support the region.

  • Apple, along with Facebook, Google and Microsoft, committed a collective $5 billion to support affordable housing initiatives, but it ran into the reality that money alone can't solve the problem without changes to zoning and financing restrictions.

Details: One project is financed with Housing Trust Silicon Valley to create 250 units of affordable housing in the Bay Area. Another will provide mortgage and down payment assistance.

  • In conjunction with the California Housing Finance Agency, Apple says it will launch an "affordable housing investment support program" to increase funding available for low- to moderate-income housing.
  • Apple also says it's supporting the construction of units with Destination: Home, which helps vulnerable individuals.

Go deeper: Big Tech spends billions to help housing crisis

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Oct 8, 2020 - Technology

Microsoft app store playbook swipes at Apple, Google

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

In a not-so-subtle dig at Apple and Google, Microsoft today announced a series of "principles" for its Windows 10 App Store — including letting users choose their own payment system for in-app purchases — that it says should serve as a model for other app stores.

Why it matters: The move comes as antitrust regulators in the U.S. and around the world are spotlighting how both Apple and Google manage their mobile platforms and as some developers charge them with running their app stores unfairly.

51 mins ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in U.K.

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.