Is Microsoft’s $250 Million Affordable Housing Injection Enough?

CBx Vibe:Village Ghetto Land” Stevie Wonder

By CultureBanx Team

  • Microsoft commits another $250M to affordable housing in Seattle
  • Black people represent 6% of King County’s population and have the highest homeless rate at 32%

Microsoft (MSFT -1.01%) is throwing an additional $250 million at the housing crisis in Seattle. This additional funding comes after the tech giant announced last year it would put $500 million into an initiative to build and preserve affordable housing in the region. Are they actually trying to fix the huge need for middle- and low-income housing and combat homelessness, or is this extra financial commitment merely a selling point for future employee recruitment?

Why This Matters: Seattle and King County, which is the area where Microsoft is located faces a severe lack of affordable housing and a homelessness crisis. A point-in-time in 2019 survey tallied more than 11,000 homeless people in King County. Black people represent 6% of King County’s population and have the highest homeless rate at 32%. These figures are a 23% over representation for African Americans in Seattle’s homeless sector, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Community Survey. For Latinos the numbers aren’t much better as they represent 15% of King County’s population and 10% of the homeless rate.

In King County which is the area of Seattle where Microsoft is located, Black people represent 6% of the population and have the highest homeless rate at 32%

They have already allocated $380 million of the initial $500 million commitment. Specifically, the additional $50 million of the new $250 million pledge will provide a line of credit to help the Washington State Finance Commission fund about 3,000 more affordable housing units on the Eastside, in cities including Bellevue, Kirkland and Redmond. Interestingly enough Microsoft plans to expand its headquarters in the Seattle area, adding 8,000 employees that will need places to live.

It’s going to cost quite a lot to get housing on track in Seattle, and it could be argued that Microsoft could do more. To further put this into perspective for you, the company’s total $750 million commitment towards affordable housing represents just 2.3% of its 2019 net income. Microsoft has a market cap of $1.6 trillion dollars which didn’t happen overnight, just like the ensuing housing crisis.

Situational Awareness: This investment from Microsoft is better late than never, but only time will tell how effective it will be for residents. At least they won’t be alone in their effort to create more housing options, as Seattle announced it would invest $110 million into building nearly 2,000 affordable housing units in the city.

CBx Vibe:Village Ghetto Land” Stevie Wonder

CONTRIBUTOR

CultureBanx Team

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