April 30, 2018 (Los Altos, CA) – Today, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation announced that it awarded $1.5 million in grants to Silicon Valley at Home (SV@Home) and $750,000 in grants to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley (Terner Center) to catalyze creative solutions to the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis.
“The severe lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area is having a deep and profound impact on people in our region,” said Irene Wong, Director of the Local Grantmaking Program at the Packard Foundation. “The mounting crisis alongside our deep connection with and concern for our local communities compelled us to make affordable housing grants for the first time.”
According to The Giving Code—a report the Foundation commissioned to learn more about urgent community needs and the region’s nonprofit and philanthropic ecosystems—nonprofit leaders put housing at the top of urgent issues facing the region. Silicon Valley rents increased 27 percent since 2011, bringing them up 227 percent higher than the national average. To afford a Silicon Valley apartment at a fair market rate, a renter would have to earn over $94,000 a year, 4.7 times the annual income of a minimum wage earner in the region. In 2015, the median sale price for a house in Silicon Valley was $830,361, and in some areas, two to three times that amount.
The Terner Center aims to leverage strong data and rigorous analysis to advance policy ideas and innovative private sector practices to address housing affordability challenges. They are currently working to better understand the drivers behind rapidly rising construction costs and develop interventions that might help lower them, both for affordable housing units, and for housing development broadly.
“The housing crisis we are in is unprecedented, and it is not the time to be working around the margins,” said Carol Galante, Faculty Director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley. “We are thrilled the Packard Foundation has stepped forward to help lead the region towards the large-scale solutions it needs, and honored to be supported in our efforts to identify, develop, and promote those solutions.”
SV@Home opened its doors in July of 2015 with the vision of a community where all people have access to a safe, stable, and affordable home. Through policy, education, and messaging, SV@Home works to increase the supply of housing affordable to all, from those living on the streets without adequate shelter to those who are working for leading employers. SV@Home is laser focused on expanding opportunities for more land and more money for affordable homes, and promotes policies and programs that make development possible.
“Silicon Valley is a magical place—a place of opportunity, innovation, and significant wealth,” said Leslye Corsiglia, Executive Director of Silicon Valley at Home. “But chronic underbuilding of new homes during a period of significant job growth has resulted in sky high housing prices. This in turn has resulted in overcrowding, over payment, displacement of lower income households, and homelessness. SV@Home is working in Santa Clara County—which is in the heart of the Silicon Valley—to respond to our affordable housing challenges.”
The Foundation has long supported organizations that provide shelter and services for homeless families but has not been engaged in funding for affordable housing. But understanding the severity of the housing crisis, and after hearing from grantees about how the lack of affordable housing is severely worsening and placing acute pressures on local nonprofits’ ability to carry out their work, the Foundation awarded the grants as part of a critical response to the housing crisis.
Grants announced today complement the Packard Foundation’s July 2017 $5 million mission investment to the Housing Trust Silicon Valley (HTSV), to provide loans to affordable housing developers with the goal of creating 10,000 affordable homes in the next decade. They also build on the Packard Foundation’s collaboration with the Grove Foundation to convene grantmakers with an interest in learning more about ways philanthropy can impact the affordable housing crisis. As a part of that convening, the Packard Foundation has commissioned a learning report titled, Protecting, Preserving & Increasing Production of Affordable Housing in Silicon Valley: Philanthropic Activity & Opportunities, to further the conversation on how grantmakers, particularly those with little history funding affordable housing solutions, can respond to our region’s housing crisis.
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About the Local Grantmaking Program
The Packard Foundation’s Local Grantmaking Program builds on the longstanding commitment made by David and Lucile Packard to invest in the region where they started their company and raised their family. Dedicated to achieving deep and meaningful impact in local communities, the Local Grantmaking program makes annual investments to nonprofit organizations in the five contiguous counties of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Benito, and Monterey working to make these communities strong and vibrant places for all.
About the David and Lucile Packard Foundation
David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a private family foundation created in 1964 by David Packard (1912–1996), cofounder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and Lucile Salter Packard (1914–1987). The Foundation provides grants to nonprofit organizations in the following program areas: Conservation and Science; Population and Reproductive Health; Children, Families, and Communities; and Local Grantmaking. The Foundation makes national and international grants and also has a special focus on the Northern California counties of San Benito, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey. Foundation grantmaking includes support for a wide variety of activities including direct services, research and policy development, and public information and education. Learn more at www.packard.org.