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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

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Go deeper

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Faces of COVID creator on telling the stories of those we've lost

America yesterday lost 2,762 people to COVID-19, per the CDC, bringing the total pandemic toll to 272,525. That's more than the population of Des Moines, Iowa. Or Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Or Toledo, Ohio.

Axios Re:Cap speaks with Alex Goldstein, creator of the @FacesofCOVID Twitter account, about sharing the stories behind the statistics.

1 hour ago - Health

WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020

A Pfizer factory in Puurs, Belgiam on Dec. 3. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimate for how many coronavirus vaccines will be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, instead of 100 million, per WSJ.