Partnership announced to help solve housing crisis in Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When it came to the Bay Area's housing crisis, three years ago tech companies would tell you "it's not our problem." That's what Priscilla Chan, the wife of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, said during a panel discussion on housing.

Chan also said that is no longer true. She and others announced Thursday a partnership to preserve, protect and produce affordable housing for Bay Area residents.

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Housing "is" the most challenging issue in the Bay Area-- we've heard that before.

So how do these five self-described agitators think they can begin to solve the problem?

For one, involve the private sector. After all, Microsoft said it will invest $500 million in affordable housing in Seattle.

In the Bay Area, Facebook and Genentech are now also committed.

"The amazing thing is it's their capital which is so helpful but also their voices," said Chan with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.

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Thursday, the Partnership for the Bay's Future was launched with a goal of raising $500-million, already they have secured $261-million.

Where will that money go to? The goal is to preserve and produce more than 8,000 homes over the next five to 10 years.

Besides building more housing, they could fund nonprofits that are already buying properties and revitalizing them with the purpose of keeping them permanently affordable.

"The fund will serve the five counties regionally that we have been talking about and it is designed to be a fund that will be around for about 18 years," explained Maurice Jones of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation which supports projects to revitalize communities.

The five counties are San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

An additional $40-million will go to counties and cities that show that they are actively involved in introducing housing initiatives.

"From a policy point of view supports tenant protection as well as preservation activity," added Fred Blackwell of the San Francisco Foundation.

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If anything this panel agreed that we all have a role in solving the housing crisis-- there is no opting out.

"I know for myself that the only thing that gets me up in the morning is the hope that it's possible," said Jennifer Martinez of PICO California, the largest multi-racial faith-based community-organizing network in the state.

Check out more stories about housing in the Bay Area.
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