Adobe Stock/Maya Kruchenkova

Large organizations that need to attract a workforce are now getting involved in the business of bringing more affordable housing online. This Greenbiz article spotlights some of the new collaborations and innovative approaches that are meant to deliver housing more efficiently and at a lower price point.

Two years ago, prefab construction firm Factory OS — which leans heavily on software to build homes quickly while minimizing waste — got its first big order from one very big name in tech.

That high-profile customer was Google, which spent a reported $25 million to $30 million to build short-term housing for employees who otherwise couldn't find places to live in the insanely hyperactive, insanely unaffordable San Francisco Bay area housing market.

This morning, design software firm Autodesk and financial services giant Citi made strategic investments in the Northern California company, which has its base in a former Navy submarine construction facility on Mare Island in California. The money Citi is putting toward the deal comes from its fintech incubator, Spread Products Investment Technologies group, and Citi Community Capital, which finances affordable housing and community development projects.

The amounts that Citi and Autodesk are putting up wasn’t disclosed, but the money will go toward creating a new, highly digitized factory dedicated (among other things) to building modular housing to help victims of natural disasters and other emergency situations. It also will help fund the buildout of a research center focused on sharing knowledge of housing policies. The lab is affiliated with UC Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation.

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