A neighborhood in Palo Alto (Photo courtesy Shutterstock)

Affordable housing projects in South Bay awarded $20M from Facebook in new partnership

Facebook is partnering with the cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park as well as variety of community groups to help fund the creation and preservation of new affordable housing in the Bay Area.

The partnership includes existing community groups Youth United for Community Action (YUCA), Faith in Action Bay Area, Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA), and Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste, East Palo Alto. ETB was assisted by the ACLU Foundation of Northern California, Public Advocates Inc., and the Law Office of Julian Gross.

$20 million is being donated by the social media company towards the project, $18.5 million of which will go to a newly-formed Catalyst Housing Fund.

“The fund is designed to quickly benefit those most in need,” said Doroteo Garcia of El Comité de Vecinos del Lado Oeste. “The money will be prioritized for homes that are affordable to very low income families and protect existing households from displacement.”

Silicon Valley is facing an affordable housing crisis and a simultaneous population boom. Only 26 percent of the new homes the area built between 2007 and 2014 were for low-income families. Authorities estimate this is nearly 22,000 homes short of what’s needed.

Tenant displacement is also rampant, many cases of which are illegal. As part of this new partnership, Facebook will contribute $500,000 to providing tenants assistance with evictions, and $250,000 to support the building and upkeep of affordable homes.

Last but not least, $625,000 will be designated for job training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

“The City of East Palo Alto appreciates Facebook valuing the voice of the community by ensuring our seat at the table as we find solutions to issues facing EPA together,” said East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Larry Moody. “This partnership solidifies a long-term commitment to the people who live in the area and reinforces Facebook’s promise to be an active corporate citizen.”

Facebook currently employs more than 15,000 people, over 2,800 of which work at its 57-acre headquarters in Menlo Park.

 

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