California’s Bay Area, home to Silicon Valley, where Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft all call home, has a housing problem that is unmatched anywhere, even in Manhattan, the most expensive of cities: the Bay Area’s “low income” designation now applies to a family of four making less than $117,000 a year. The state of California has more than 134,000 homeless, and in the Bay Area that has increased by 17% since 2017.
These tech companies are blamed—and to some extent they are accepting the blame and trying to mitigate it. Apple just pledged $2.5 billion to low income housing, a pledge met by several other tech giants. But according to reports, that pledge is just the tip of the iceberg.
According to a national report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there are four million affordable rental homes in the country and eleven million “extreme low-income” households, leaving a substantial gap without access to affordable housing. Across the United States, homes are being built at the lowest rate in twenty years, growing at only 1% annually.
This is combined with “stagflation” where rental rates have increased 32% nationally between 2001 and 2015 but there has been no corresponding increase in wages.