Patti Wang Cross
Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley
Habitat for Humanity and Google Announce Bay Area Affordable Housing Partnership
$10M in loan facility jump starts joint effort to increase regional housing opportunities
SAN JOSE, CALIF. (June 24, 2022)— Today, Habitat for Humanity hosted a hands-on day of volunteerism in San José, to kick off major construction effort with the help of a couple dozen Google employees, along with Mayor Sam Liccardo and the district’s a Councilmember Raul Peralez. The project is the first to make use of a $10 million loan facility Google is providing to Habitat for Humanity Bay Area as part of its $1 billion housing commitment. Habitat Bay Area (comprised of Habitat Greater San Francisco and Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley) builds across six counties – from Marin in the north to Santa Clara in the south – serving some of the areas hardest hit in the nation by extreme housing shortages and rising costs. The funding from Google offers Habitat critical financing flexibility that allows the nonprofit to move pending and future projects through the building pipeline.
The afternoon of building took place at the corner of Fourth and Reed Streets in San José, where Habitat is just beginning a major renovation of the historic Pallesen Apartments building, converting it to four two-bedroom units that will be sold to low-income families through affordable mortgages. The century-old building was saved from the wrecking ball last year and moved to its current location, where Google is supporting Habitat’s effort to bring homeownership within reach of families priced out of the market – while preserving the building’s unique historical character.
Both Mayor Liccardo and Councilmember Peralez advocated for the preservation of the historic property and the donation of the City-owned site where it now stands.
"Habitat and Google's vital collaboration helps advance affordable housing solutions that will bring the opportunity of homeownership to low-income San José residents," said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo. "Through this partnership, not only will we see the preservation of historic buildings, but several families can continue to call our city home."
"I'm grateful to Habitat for Humanity, the Preservation Action Council, and Google for coming together to provide the game-changing opportunity of home ownership to low-income families,” said Councilmember Raul Peralez. “This is just the beginning of Google's investment in making San José a place that everyone can afford to call home."
Google’s housing commitment aims to increase housing opportunities throughout the region, and its partnership with Habitat Bay Area will facilitate the production of affordable ownership housing in particular.
“The purpose of our $250 million investment fund is to increase the supply of housing across the Bay Area,” said Javier González, Google’s Head of Local Government Affairs and Public Policy, California. “We’re grateful for opportunities to work with organizations, like Habitat, to help fill gaps in the market to accelerate the creation or preservation of affordable housing developments.”
Habitat for Humanity Bay Area represents a collaboration of two major, independent Habitat affiliates – Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley and Habitat Greater San Francisco – who, together, have served the area for over 60 years by building homes with affordable mortgages, preserving and repairing affordable homes, providing housing and financial counseling, and revitalizing neighborhoods. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the area’s affordable housing crisis; the economic fallout has placed more people and families at or over the edge of displacement, while the health crisis firmly underscores the critical need for decent, stable, affordable housing.
“I’m excited to be here with the City and our Habitat counterparts across the Bay to celebrate this $10 million region-wide financing partnership with Google,” said Janice Jensen, President and CEO of Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley. “This partnership means building more and building it sooner. It facilitates our housing pipeline so that we can do the work of making homeownership a possibility for more families.”
Google’s partnership will bolster Habitat East Bay/Silicon Valley’s efforts throughout Santa Clara, Alameda, and Contra Costa counties. After completing 30 new affordable, sustainable homes in Fremont, the affiliate is under way on its first Zero Net Energy development in Walnut Creek. Meanwhile, the homebuilder is preserving affordable housing stock throughout its service area with critical home repairs and major renovations.
“Affordable project financing is essential for affordable home building to happen,” said Maureen Sedonaen, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco. “That’s why, when community partners like Google are able to come to the table – and bring capital that can be accessed and leveraged to create 100% affordable housing – it is a win-win-win.”
Earlier this month Habitat Greater San Francisco completed six homes on Geneva Avenue in Daly City. A further 20 affordable homes on Jefferson Avenue in Redwood City are currently being finished, and eight homes are also under construction on Amber Drive San Francisco. The affiliate also has a strong pipeline of 300 units in pre-development across its region of San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties.
About Habitat for Humanity East Bay/Silicon Valley: We believe that everyone deserves a decent place to live. By creating, preserving, and expanding access to affordable housing, we provide families with the opportunity to transform their lives, gaining the strength, stability, and self-reliance they need to build a better future. Our innovative model maximizes impact and families gain economic stability to build a foundation for the future–for themselves, their children, and generations to come.