By Elliot Schrage, VP Corporate Communications & Public Policy
Facebook stands for community. Our commitment extends from our global community to our physical headquarters in California. We are particularly dedicated to being an active and responsible partner at our home.
Last December, we announced a partnership with Envision Transform Build and the cities of East Palo Alto and Menlo Park to create regional solutions to the affordable housing crisis. We’re pleased with the progress this partnership has made and we’re excited to announce that the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will manage the Catalyst Housing fund in collaboration with Housing Trust Silicon Valley and possibly other local organizations in the future. This is a critical next step toward deploying the funds and building new housing.
LISC plans to leverage Facebook’s initial investment of $18.5 million to as much as $75 million. We plan to begin investing in affordable housing projects by fall 2017, and expect funds to be deployed in the five to eight-year horizon.
For nearly 40 years, LISC has partnered with local communities to create high-quality affordable housing in where the need is the greatest. In addition to housing, LISC focuses on economic development, education and financial stability. Those capabilities align with the pillars of our community partnership.
Since the announcement of the community partnership in December, the partners have provided $500,000 to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) to support Belle Haven and East Palo Alto residents threatened with displacement from evictions or abuse by landlords. The partners have also contributed $250,000 to Rebuilding Together Peninsula to rehabilitate and reconstruct homes in East Palo Alto and Belle Haven.
While we’re pleased with this latest step, we believe there is much more to do. We are encouraged by the streamlining and affordable housing funding bills currently under consideration by the state of California. We see the need for policy and funding solutions to work in tandem, and see the Catalyst Housing Fund as an opportunity to advance the supply of housing for families most in need. We are focused on gaining the support of new partners to help solve these issues. Together, we aim to more effectively address regional challenges like affordable housing, legal support for tenants, transportation, and economic opportunity. We’re here for the long-term to work with our neighbors to keep our community strong and assure the continued future of Silicon Valley as an engine of economic opportunity and global leader developing technologies that improve people’s lives.