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Google, which has helped to fuel the Bay Area’s housing crisis, and be a better neighbor?
One of the big rallies, marches and town halls have been praising Google’s $1 billion pledge to the 20,000 homes in the uber-expensive Bay Area, as a victory after years of grassroots pressure, but they also believe that it is a business, and Silicon Valley more generally, the need to do more to alleviate the region’s greatly increased cost of living.
With the dramatic expansion of tech giants, such as Google, Facebook and Apple, in the state of California, in San Francisco, and San Jose, as well as cities such as Mountain View, Menlo Park and san francisco, combined with not enough of new housing, has led to a strong increase of costs and displaced many workers and middle-class residents.
In San Francisco, california, where Facebook, Uber and Twitter are a must for offices, a recent report by Zumper, put the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,700. In San Jose, where Google is planning to build an enormous new campus for 20,000 employees, who are provided with housing, retail and offices, with the average studio renting for only $2,000 as the city grapples with a growing housing shortage and the approximately 4,000 homeless residents.
Google this week announced a massive investment in housing for the next year, an activist push.
(Jeff Barrera/Silicon Valley, Which The Rising/Getty)
The commitment was announced in a blog post from the CEO is Sundar Pichai, includes $750 million of Google’s existing office space will be converted into approximately 15,000 housing units, $250 million for incentives for other developers to build 5,000 units of affordable housing, and $50 million for not-for-profit organizations that assist the homeless to find shelter.
It is also worth noting that Google is already offering, in order to build up some 5,700 homes, a major plan for the North Bayshore area of Mountain View, which is the home of the corporate headquarters. To the North Bayshore plan has not been approved yet.
The attorneys, who are under pressure from Google and the tech industry in general, has offered cautious praise, while local politicians said the announcement was a good first step.
“This announcement shows that Google is listening to the thousands of people in San Jose and around the Bay Area that claimed the tech giant to take responsibility for their role in the housing crisis. This goes to show that when the churches speak to them, they may be a better approach to tech for growth,” Maria Noel Fernandez, the campaign director for the Silicon Valley’s Rising, a coalition of activist and labor groups, who are committed to a more inclusive tech sector, told Fox News by e-mail.
California state Senator Scott Wiener, who is also the chairman of the senate’s housing committee, mentioned that the promise of a “great investment.”
“The problems of our housing is in need of all of us — the government, the business community, housing advocates, neighbors – must work together. Today’s announcement is a strong step in the right direction,” Wiener said in a Tweet.
Fernandez is also a reminder of her praise, saying, that her agency wants “to make sure that Google will partner with the various communities, so that the tech development makes it a real opportunity for working families, instead of moving.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he is hoping that Google’s announcement will inspire other tech giants to follow suit.
“At Google we recognize that it will have a major role to play in addressing the problem in California is the cost of the crisis,” Newsom said.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, that is, affordable housing is a central pillar of his campaign, has said that Google’s plan was a step in the right direction.
“We look forward to working with Google to make the announcement that today is manifested in the case, which will benefit thousands of San Jose residents are struggling under the burden of high prices,” he said in a statement posted on Twitter.
In June, a report from the co-operation of the united states, and a grassroots group is fighting for “just the economy”, and concluded that Google and San Jose can be prevented from further rent hikes, over-population, massive displacements, and relocations due to “the funding of the development of the 5,284 affordable housing and helping to produce 12,450 market-rate units by 2030.”
Even though there are a lot of details to be worked out, and activists continue to pressure Google, that is the general reaction has been very positive.
Activism on the web, has led to a debate about the search giant’s previous efforts to expand in China, it’s sexual harassment and alleged retaliation as well as for the treatment of subcontractors, vendors, and temporary employees.