Google pledges $1 billion to build 20,000 new homes in the Bay Area

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Google announced Tuesday a major commitment to help fight the housing crisis in the Bay Area.

The tech company said that it's putting $1 billion toward adding about 20,000 homes to the Bay Area.

"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. But there's more to do," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in a statement. 

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo hailed the billion-dollar plan at a news conference inside city hall. 

"Heartened to see Google's commitment once again, to affordable housing," he said. 

Liccardo says it's an add-on to the current agreement with the city that calls for 25 percent of the housing in the forthcoming Google Village to be deemed affordable housing. 

Over the next 10 years, the goal is to repurpose at least $750 million of the company's land— most of which is currently zoned for office or commercial space, for residential housing. 

Google says that will give way for at least 15,000 new homes at all income levels in the Bay Area, including options for middle and low-income families.

In 2018, 3,000 homes were built in the South Bay. 

The company said it will also establish a $250 million investment fund to provide incentives to enable developers to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units across the market.

On June 12 community members picketed outside San Jose City Hall, citing a new report showing Google's presence in the downtown area will exacerbate the housing shortage. 

Six days later, there was tempered praise. 

"Today is a big win for those workers and leaders and community members that have been doing the hard work of organizing," said Maria Noel Fernandez, Campaign Director for Silicon Valley Rising.

Google's announcement comes as workers struggle with the rising costs of rent. 

Research shows that 5,000 affordable homes are needed in San Jose alone. 

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