Microsoft has announced a $250 million commitment in support of affordable housing solutions across the Puget Sound region.
The commitment is in addition to a $500 million investment announced by the company a year ago to accelerate the construction of affordable housing that includes below-market-rate loans totaling $225 million to subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing in King County. The new investment will consist of a no-cost line of credit to the Washington State Finance Commission, enabling the commission to provide more tax-exempt bonds for affordable housing projects and finance approximately three thousand additional units of much-needed affordable housing.
Microsoft also announced $55 million in recent grants and investments made as part of its original $500 million commitment, including a $50 million contribution to the Evergreen Impact Housing Fund — a partnership between the Seattle Foundation and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co. — in support of the development of more than twelve hundred low-income housing units. The company also awarded grants of $2.5 million each to HomeSight's Othello Square, a project that includes nearly two hundred units of affordable housing, early-learning education initiatives, small business incubation services, cultural celebration and preservation activities, and financial services in Seattle's most diverse neighborhood; and Rise Together, a collaborative of six nonprofits building four hundred new units of low-income housing in Seattle's Central District, Capitol Hill, and White Center neighborhoods. Those investments bring to $380 million the total the company has allocated over the past year through its affordable housing initiative.
"[T]he initial response to our request for proposal (RFP) was less than we hoped and showed us just how difficult it is to create affordable housing where it typically doesn't work," Microsoft Philanthropies senior director Jane Broom wrote in a blog post. "The good news is that we are starting to see a pipeline of new ideas and projects here on the Eastside of King County where there really wasn’t one before. And we will double down in the coming year to work together with local mayors, councils, and city staff and push harder for the critical policy reforms we believe are vital in order to move forward."