Microsoft Commits $500 Million Towards Affordable Housing in Seattle Area

In a Microsoft Corporate Blog, president Brad Smith and CFO Amy Hood committed $500 million in loans and grants to accelerate the construction of more affordable housing across the Seattle region across the next three years.

$225 million will be invested at lower than market rate returns to inject capital to subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing. These investments initially will be made in six cities east of Seattle and Lake Washington: Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish.

$250 million will be invested at market rate returns to support low-income housing across the entire King County region to help accelerate the construction of low-income housing across the region.

$25 million in philanthropic grants will be made available to address homelessness in the greater Seattle region. This will include a $5 million philanthropic grant to the newly announced Home Base program created by the Seattle Mariners, the United Way of King County and the King County Bar Association. This program helps keep people facing eviction in their homes through legal aid, access to flexible funds and case management. Another $5 million will support a new joint agency on homelessness being formed by the city of Seattle and King County. Microsoft has yet to announce how the remaining $15 million of grants will be used.

The authors also call on the state government to:

  • Include a $200 million appropriation to the Housing Trust Fund to expand support for very-low-income individuals and families
  • Support condominium liability reforms
  • Extend the Multifamily Tax Exemption
  • Create new incentives for local communities to enact more efficient land use polices