The David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, California, has announced grants totaling $2.25 million to raise awareness of and catalyze creative solutions to the affordable housing crisis in the Bay Area.
A complement to the foundation's 2017 investment in the Housing Trust Silicon Valley, the grants include $1.5 million to Silicon Valley at Home (SV@Home) and $750,000 to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley. Through advocacy, education, and messaging, SV@Home works to increase the supply of housing affordable for all, from the homeless living on the streets without adequate shelter to those working for the region's major employers. The Terner Center leverages data and analysis to advance policy ideas and innovative private-sector practices aimed at addressing housing affordability challenges. The center currently is working to better understand the drivers behind rapidly rising construction costs in the region and to develop interventions that can help lower them, both for affordable housing units and for housing development more broadly.
According to The Giving Code — a report the foundation commissioned to learn more about community needs and the region's philanthropic ecosystem — nonprofit leaders put housing at the top of their list of urgent issues facing the region. Since 2011, Silicon Valley rents have increased 27 percent and are now 227 percent higher than the national average. To afford a Silicon Valley apartment at a fair market rate, a renter would have to earn more than $94,000 a year — 4.7 times the annual income of a minimum-wage earner in the region, while in 2015 the median sale price for a house in Silicon Valley was $830,361 — and two to three times that amount in some areas.
"The severe lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area is having a deep and profound impact on people in our region," said Irene Wong, director of the Local Grantmaking Program at the foundation. "The mounting crisis alongside our deep connection with and concern for our local communities compelled us to make affordable housing grants for the first time."