Facebook building rentals to help with Silicon Valley housing crunch

MENLO PARK, Calif. (KGO) -- Just two miles north of its Bay-front campus, Facebook is footing part of the cost of building 396 rental units.

It's part of an effort by the social media giant to offset how the rapid growth of tech jobs in Silicon Valley has created a housing shortage.

"We've created 50,000 jobs over just the last few years, and everyone loves the low unemployment that helps us all. But we've only created only 5,000 homes," said Carl Guardino with Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

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However, Facebook is also working with the city of Menlo Park to include 1,500 dormitory-style units for employees adjacent to its headquarters. More than 7,000 people work there.

Could this signal a comeback of company towns where tech companies house their employees?

"I certainly don't see having private companies providing private company housing as the right solution. We are a community. We have a challenge to house all of our employees, whether or not you work for a private company," said Teresa Alvarado with SPUR San Jose.

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Alvardo's organization has been wondering if the valley needs to re-think the corporate campus, such as Apple's new spaceship campus under construction in Cupertino. It will have parking for a reported 11,000 vehicles, creating strain on surface roads and Interstate 280.

"If we built more homes near jobs, near transit, with a little bit more efficiency in terms of homes per acre, then we're going to help address our traffic problems, our air pollution problems and our challenges of having more homes affordable to more families," said Guardino.

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