On Monday, Apple announced a $2.5 billion plan to help address the housing availability and affordability crisis in California.
But housing experts and advocates are cautious about how much the company’s voluntary investment can do to budge the fundamental barriers to housing construction in the state.
For one, zoning restrictions and opposition from neighborhood groups may prevent developers from seeing through bold plans to expand housing, even once they’re given the sites to build.
“It’s really, really good to have money, and it’s really, really good to have land, but you have to get all the approvals to make housing a reality,” said Leslye Corsiglia, the executive director of the affordable housing organization, Silicon Valley @ Home. “Until we can get the community to understand the need for more housing; we’ll be fighting an uphill battle.”
Most of Apple’s investment will effectively turn the company into a housing lender. The company will offer $1 billion in credit to the state and other developers to build very low to moderate-income housing. Another $1 billion will provide mortgage financing and down-payment assistance to first-time homebuyers, in tandem with the state government.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote yesterday, “Apple’s $2.5 billion might have been better spent promoting legislation to overhaul California’s zoning laws.”