Almost 12 million Americans spend half of their income on rent or housing. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, might be looking to aid the nation's housing, says Ben Paynter in this article for Fast Company.
Zuckerberg and his wife Pricilla Chan launched the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a start-up of sorts that seeks to solve social issues. While the couple hasn't announced any plan for affordable housing, they have reportedly met with housing experts. Fast Company talked to several housing experts about how the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative might go about tackling the problem. Paynter writes:
Just building more units in high-demand zones isn’t the answer. First, it’s expensive. Zuckerberg could spend his entire fortune and still not have made enough units for everyone who needs them in California alone, estimates Aimee Inglis, the director at Tenants Trust, a housing rights group. Short term, new units going in can cause a bubble; they may be overvalued as wealthy buyers flock.
If he wants to play developer, Zuckerberg would be better off backing mixed-income developments with deed restrictions, says Axel-Lute. These don’t need to be in the middle of cities; it might be cheaper to locate them near transportation hubs like BART has advocated for its commuter trains system. For the price of a few billion, CZI could provide cheaper living space in the hardest hit areas by buying buildings that they just manage as mixed- or low-income oases themselves. The goal wouldn’t be to turn a profit, but to break even and maybe receive tax breaks.