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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

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.