Google pledges $1 bn for housing crisis in Bay Area

Google CEO Sundar Pichai looks at coding projects designed by 4H students at Roosevelt Elementary in Pryor Oklahoma

Google CEO Sundar Pichai looks at coding projects designed by 4H students at Roosevelt Elementary in Pryor Oklahoma

Google plans to repurpose at least $750 million worth of the company's land that is now zoned for office or commercial space to be used for the development of 15,000 new homes.

"As Google grows throughout the Bay Area-whether it's in our home town of Mountain View, in San Francisco, or in our future developments in San Jose and Sunnyvale-we've invested in developing housing that meets the needs of these communities".

YouTube has recently made "significant revisions" to its hate speech policy and removed over nine million videos in the last quarter as part of a process to reduce the spread of harmful content, according to Google " s Indian-American CEO Sundar Pichai.

Google's pledge follows a move in January by Facebook, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and others to raise $280 million in funds to help preserve or develop 8,000 units of affordable housing within 10 years.

Tech companies have helped fuel the housing crisis in the Bay Area.

As part of that effort, the internet company plans to convert at least $750 million of its own land, now zoned for office or commercial space, to support 15,000 homes, according to a blog post from Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The lack of new supply, combined with the rising cost of living, has resulted in a severe shortage of affordable housing options for long-time middle and low-income residents.

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Freelance writer Michelle Robertson on why she chose to leave the San Francisco area. Google will be giving $50 million worth of grants to nonprofits that focus on "homelessness and displacement" in addition to the $18 million grants it already gave over the past five years.

"For several months, we have encouraged Google to make a bold commitment to address our region's affordable housing challenge", the San Jose mayor, Sam Liccardo, said in a statement. Some longtime area residents and lower-paid Google workers have had to look for alternatives to paying steep rental costs.

"We work hard to get right, and every few years we feel the need to evolve them because we see changes in how the platform is getting used", Pichai told CNN. In pledging to support the development of 20,000 units, Google is vowing to take care of 68% of the 29,500 new homes the area is estimated to need each year. Google said it wants housing construction to begin immediately.

The pledge is the largest single commitment from a tech company to ease the housing shortage.

Google is extending a helping hand as it draws up plans to expand into sprawling offices beyond its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

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