Google announces $50 million loan for housing growth | August 2, 2019 | Mountain View Voice | Mountain View Online |

Mountain View Voice

News - August 2, 2019

Google announces $50 million loan for housing growth

by Mark Noack

As the first piece of the $1 billion housing pledge, Google officials last week announced they would invest $50 million in the Housing Trust Silicon Valley.

Considered the largest investment in the nonprofit's history, the Google funding is expected to serve as a catalyst for affordable housing development, particularly by helping projects to overcome early obstacles such as land and planning costs.

The new endowment is being invested in the Housing Trust's Tech Fund, which was set up in 2017 and has already attracted large contributions from a series of regional companies, including LinkedIn, Cisco and Pure Storage. In total, the fund is credited for raising $112 million that has helped build more than 2,250 homes across the South Bay.

In Mountain View, the Tech Fund provided money to help acquire land for a 93-unit affordable housing project along La Avenida Avenue. The same funding pool helped Palo Alto Housing to purchase a Taco Bell property at 950 W. El Camino Real that will eventually be redeveloped for 71 apartments.

Google's new $50 million investment is a loan that must eventually be paid back with some interest. The Housing Trust's Tech Fund is designed for companies to be paid back their investment within five or 10 years.

The Housing Trust Tech Fund serves as a pool of money that can be used to provide short-term loans to help finance housing projects. Typically these projects are affordable rental housing, and usually the money is repaid back into the fund after no more than three years.

What is significant about the new funding is it provides new revenues for building subsidized housing without sapping existing sources, said Julie Quinn, Housing Trust chief development officer.

"This is an entirely new piece of the pie for affordable housing, coming from the corporate treasury," she said. "It will help affordable housing project by giving them the ability to have fast, flexible capital."

In a June blog post, Google officials announced the company would invest $1 billion toward the goal of building 20,000 homes near its Silicon Valley offices. At least $750 million of this pledge is expected to come in the form of land owned by the company that would be dedicated for housing.

The new Housing Trust loan is being drawn from a separate $250 million fund set up by Google to help jump-start affordable housing. The company has set the goal to eventually build 5,000 new homes with this money.

Email Mark Noack at mnoack@mv-voice.com

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