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Apple will spend $2.5 billion to alleviate California housing crisis

Tim Cook raising a few fingers, with an Apple logo in the background.
Tim Cook attends the global premiere of the Apple TV series "The Morning Show" in New York last week. Photo: Roy Rochlin/WireImage

Apple CEO Tim Cook, unveiling a $2.5 billion plan to help alleviate California's housing availability and affordability crisis, told Axios in an interview that Apple feels "a profound responsibility" to the region where it was born and thrived.

  • "It’s just unsustainable," Cook said. "This problem is so big that the public sector cannot do it alone."

Why it matters: Many teachers and emergency workers can't afford to live in the Bay Area communities they serve. "Super-commutes" of 90 minutes or more, often from distant counties, have become a grim regional phenomenon.

The big picture: The tech giants are trying to be better neighbors. Facebook announced last month that it would invest $1 billion to help alleviate California's housing crisis. Google announced a $1 billion plan in June.

Between the lines: Cook told Axios that Apple is making this move now in part because Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is the right partner.

  • Newsom said in an Apple release: "This unparalleled financial commitment [is] proof that Apple is serious about solving this issue. I hope other companies follow their lead."

Here's the breakdown of Apple’s commitment to the state of California:

  • $1 billion affordable housing investment fund, "a first-of-its-kind affordable housing fund that will provide the state and others with an open line of credit to develop and build additional new, very low- to moderate-income housing faster and at a lower cost."
  • $1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund: "will provide aspiring homebuyers with financing and down payment assistance. Apple and the state will explore strategies to increase access to first-time homeownership opportunities for essential service personnel, school employees and veterans."
  • $300 million worth of Apple-owned land in San Jose will be made available for development of new affordable housing.
  • $150 million Bay Area housing fund, a public-private partnership "with partners including Housing Trust Silicon Valley, to support new affordable housing projects. The fund will consist of long-term forgivable loans and grants."
  • $50 million to support vulnerable populations, through a donation to support Destination: Home’s efforts to address homelessness in Silicon Valley.

Go deeper: California's land-use rules worsen housing crunch