UPDATED 12:51 PM PT — Friday, November 29, 2019
Tamara Mitchell, a volunteer for the Coalition on Homelessness, said it’s becoming impossible to live in San Francisco as the country’s housing crisis is only getting worse. Major cities in the Bay Area, including San Francisco, have the third largest population of people experiencing homelessness.
“We’ve been homeless, we’ve been staying in hotels, we’ve been staying with family members – it’s been a lot,” she explained.
However, help may soon be on the way. That’s because companies such as Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft have promised to pay more than $3 billion to help solve the problem. This comes as many blame the housing crisis, in part, on Big Tech for building companies like the ones in Silicon Valley without considering where their employees would live with factors like strict house zoning laws and the possibility of prices skyrocketing.
This comes at the heels of a bipartisan initiative in Congress called the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, which would give incentives to purchase homes by setting a locked-in tax credit rate. The bill would also create more housing units, which would hopefully drive down prices.
So far, a large number of house legislators and U.S. senators from both parties have backed the bill. Lawmakers say the legislation would also make the country’s housing credit more effective for veterans, rural residents and Native American communities.
Business leaders say it’s about time Big Tech owns up to its role in causing the housing crisis and that Congress also finally takes action to remedy the issue.
“As long as I’ve lived here, and that’s 30 years, people have said, ‘oh the housing is just out of control, it’s no longer connected to reality, this can’t continue’ and yet here we are,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO Joint Ventures. “What’s happening most recently though is now we’re referring to it as a crisis.”
Hancock suggested that the most marginalized communities will continue to be hit the hardest by the housing crisis if action isn’t taken soon by Congress, Big Tech or both.