The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative adds affordable housing to the list of challenges it is tackling by providing $3.1 million to two organizations working to alleviate the housing crisis.
Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and her husband Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the initiative announced that it is providing a $3.1 million grant over three years to Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto (CLSEPA) and a $500,000 award to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley.
The venture’s initial priorities have focused on science and education, but housing also fits into the initiative’s mission of solving social issues with a start-up like approach.
“In the Bay Area, few challenges are greater than the need for affordable housing. It’s an issue affecting many of the local schools we work with, where too many students and their families are struggling to stay in their homes and neighborhoods, and recruiting and retaining top teachers is a challenge,” said David Plouffe, the initiative’s president of policy and advocacy, announcing the grants on Facebook.
The grant will enable CLSEPA and its community partners to expand their work for housing justice, and community stability in the high-cost Silicon Valley housing market.
CLSEPA and grassroots partners like Faith in Action–Bay Area and Youth United for Community Action have pioneered a “community lawyering” model that combines legal representation of individual families with legal support for broader efforts in the community to bring about long-term, systemic changes.
The grant will support CLSEPA’s efforts to prevent the displacement of families in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, North Fair Oaks, and other communities throughout Silicon Valley that are being hit hard by the displacement crisis and are facing other threats to community stability. The funding will allow CLSEPA to serve an additional 2,500 families, according to Plouffe, former adviser to Barack Obama.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative is also providing funds to the Terner Center for Housing Innovation “to help fill research gaps and test new ideas to develop long-term solutions,” he said in his statement.
Led by Carol Galante, former Federal Housing Administration commissioner during the Obama administration, the center is a collaboration between the College of Environmental Design and Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at the school.
“We intend to use the gift to continue to develop and test both policy and private-sector innovations that will help to address our complex affordability challenges and lower the cost of housing in the Bay Area and beyond,” Galante says. “We look forward to an ongoing collaboration with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative as they strategically engage in these issues.”
The Terner Center recently proposed a new tax credit to assist the nation’s low-income renters. The center has also developed a Housing Development Dashboard to allow policymakers, developers, and others see the interaction of market conditions and land-use measures on housing production.