In an effort to combat some of Silicon Valley’s toughest issues, Facebook announced last week that it will donate $20 million to a partnership focused on improving affordable housing, economic opportunity and legal support in the area.
Youth United for Community Action, Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto, Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste – East Palo Alto and others will partner with Facebook on the program. Like Facebook, which is headquartered in Silicon Valley city Menlo Park, all have close ties to the region and are focused on supporting its communities.
Facebook’s $20-million contribution to the partnership will be mostly go towards affordable housing. A total of $18.5 million will be directed to a Catalyst Housing Fund aimed at increasing the production and protection of affordable housing, while $250,000 will be used to build low-income housing.
A further $625,000 will help with “job training in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields,” while $500,000 will be put in an assistance fund and used to provide legal support for those threatened with “evictions, unsafe living conditions, and other forms of landlord abuse.”
Tech companies like Facebook are a large part of the reason Silicon Valley housing is so unaffordable — their high-paid employees have flooded the area, creating huge demand and displacing working-class families. Many now hope that other companies will follow Facebook’s lead in working to rectify the situation.
For its part, Facebook seems committed to continuing to work toward that goal, and ends last week’s press release with an emotional and forthright message. “We want the region to remain strong and vibrant and continue a long tradition of helping to build technologies that transform the future and improve the lives of people around the world, and also in our extended neighborhood. We all need to work together to create new opportunities for housing, transportation and employment across the region,” it says.