Microsoft’s $500 million investment in Seattle area affordable housing is an eye-popping number, by officials say it will take much more to solve the housing affordability crisis.
A December report from the Regional Affordable Housing task force suggests the region needs 156,000 more affordable housing units now and another 88,000 more units by 2040 to accommodate future growth.
“This kind of investment puts a down payment on that, but it doesn’t bring us close to the total need,” said King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci.
The Microsoft investment includes $225 million that will be loaned at below-market interest rates to build and preserve affordable housing in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton, and Sammamish, $250 million for market-rate return loans for affordable housing construction across King County, and a $25 million donation to homeless services.
The company didn’t specify how many affordable housing units the investment would help fund.
However, Seattle alone has spent about $710 million over the last two years on more affordable housing, according to Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
During King County’s one-night homeless count last January, officials documented 12,112 homeless individuals, up 4 percent over the previous year.
Balducci said she hopes other companies and groups follow Microsoft’s lead.
“I hope it catalyzes a lot more effort by others,” she said.