The initial reaction to the company's announcement was positive.
"There is virtually no level of housing needed," said Claudia Balducci, a member of King County Council, who leads the regional Affordable Housing Task Force.
A report released in December by the task force indicated that the region needed an additional 156,000 affordable housing units and that it would need another 88,000 homes by the year 2040 to accommodate growth. future.
A growing body of research has linked the lack of affordable housing to the increase in the number of homeless people. A December study by the Zillow real estate website indicates that this is especially true when households pay more than a third of their income for rent. The New York, Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle areas – the country's largest technology centers – have already exceeded this threshold.
"The idea that you can live in your bubble and put your fingers in your ears no longer works," said Steve Schwartz, Seattle-based Tableau Software Public Relations Manager.
In recent years, Amazon has worked closely with Mary's Place, a shelter for women and children in Seattle, for homeless people, and is currently integrating a shelter for approximately 65 families in one of its new buildings. Amazon has donated tens of millions of dollars to the city's affordable housing trust fund to fund the facility in the heart of Seattle.
Amazon declined to comment.
Google supported Mountain View's plan to add 10,000 homes in a developing region, 20 percent of which is for low-income residents. And Facebook has planned to build 1,500 apartments near its headquarters in Menlo Park, of which 15% should be affordable.
Microsoft has begun a major restructuring of its main campus in Redmond, committing billions of dollars in renovations and connecting it to a light rail station under construction. The company helped finance a successful campaign to allow voters to approve more property taxes to pay for transportation. This new investment in housing goes even further in its commitments.
"This is where Microsoft will be and the region has to work," Balducci said. "I do not think it's totally altruistic."