Downtown Seattle Adobe Stock/Iolya

When you think of Microsoft, odds are, you don't think of housing. However, the housing issue has become so challenging in their headquarter city of Seattle that they are investing half a billion dollars to help solve for it. Here ZDNet outlines how the money will be used.

Microsoft has announced a $500 million investment to advance affordable housing solutions in the cities surrounding Seattle, specifically the Puget Sound region, where Microsoft and its first 30 employees called home in 1979.

According to Microsoft, the region has not built enough housing. Since 2011, jobs in the region have grown 21 percent, while growth in housing construction has lagged at 13 percent, the company said.

"This gap in available housing has caused housing prices to surge 96 percent in the past eight years, making the Greater Seattle area the sixth most expensive region in the United States," a post penned by Microsoft president Brad Smith and CFO Amy Hood says.

"Median income in the region hasn't kept pace with rising housing costs, increasingly making it impossible for lower- and middle-income workers to afford to live close to where they work ... and people who are homeless face problems that are even more daunting."

In an attempt to fix this, or at least kickstart the fix, Microsoft will be spreading the $500 million promise over three main initiatives.

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