Facebook to Give $20 Million to Bay Area Community for Affordable Housing, Job Training

Tech company to spend about $20 million in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, Calif.

The Facebook campus in Menlo Park, Calif. PHOTO: NOAH BERGER/REUTERS

Updated Dec. 2, 2016 11:02 a.m. ET 5 COMMENTS

Facebook Inc. is extending a sizable olive branch to neighbors rankled by its plans to expand its campus and bring 6,500 new employees to the area, a move locals fear will exacerbate an already crippling housing shortage.

The tech giant is set to announce Friday it will spend about $20 million in Menlo Park and East Palo Alto, Calif., two cities that surround its campus, to create a fund to build new housing, support job training programs and provide legal assistance to tenants in danger of eviction.

Some $18.5 million will go to a fund to build new housing, primarily targeted at low- and moderate-income families, with consultation from community groups.

The size of Facebook’s contribution underscores the challenges faced by Silicon Valley’s technology community as companies add thousands of well-paid employees in areas already suffering from a housing shortage.

While roughly 500,000 jobs have been created since 2010, Silicon Valley built just 26% of the new homes it needed for lower-income households between 2007 and 2014, a shortfall of nearly 22,000 homes, according to Facebook.