Microsoft announced this week that it will commit $500 million to help tackle affordable housing issues on King County’s Eastside and throughout the Puget Sound region.
The funds, most of which will be deployed over the next three years, will go toward preserving existing affordable housing, constructing new units, and working with nonprofits to further address housing issues.
According to a statement, Microsoft will invest $225 million at below market rate returns for preserving and building new middle-income housing on the Eastside. An additional $250 million will be invested at market rate returns for low-income housing across King County. The company will also award $25 million in grants to address homelessness, including $5 million to United Way of King County’s Home Base program.
As Seattle and its surrounding cities become even more expensive to live in, and as jobs in the area continue to increase, the availability of affordable housing becomes even more crucial. According to Zillow, the nationwide median home value is $222,800. In Seattle, that number is dramatically higher — $728,300. Across all of King County, the median home value is $620,200.
“If we’re going to make progress, we’ll all need to work together as a community. We recognize that Microsoft is in a unique position to put the size of its balance sheet behind this effort. But we believe that every individual and every business, large and small, has a responsibility to contribute,” said Microsoft President Brad Smith and Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood in a joint blog post. “Ultimately, a healthy business needs to be part of a healthy community. And a healthy community must have housing within the economic reach of every part of the community, including the many dedicated people who provide the vital services on which we all rely.”