Apple’s Plan to ‘Alleviate’ CA Housing Crisis Will Backfire

Alice Salles Comments

Apple fashioned itself as a company focused on solutions. But over the years, the Silicon Valley giant did more than just respond to market demand, designing products that became the standard and creating a global need for functionality and beauty in tech.

So it’s no wonder that as California reaches unprecedented levels of a housing shortage, in part because of environmental policies pushed by companies like Apple, the firm is now announcing a plan with the goal of helping to ease the situation but that in the end, will only worsen the state’s out-of-control housing crisis.  

According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, the tech firm is launching a $2.5 billion plan that would be split in a series of efforts. 

Part of the plan involves giving the California government an open line of credit solely for the development of new, low- to moderate-income housing at a lower cost. Additionally, the firm is launching a $1 billion first-time homebuyer mortgage assistance fund to give aspiring homebuyers down payment and financing assistance as well as an additional $150 million Bay Area housing fund, which will support public-private groups working on affordable housing projects.

Apple will also give the state $300 million worth of land for housing and an additional $50 million that would be used to support the homeless.  

“It’s just unsustainable,” Cook told Axios. “This problem is so big that the public sector cannot do it alone.”

More Housing Alone Won’t Fix This Mess

Despite the noble effort, Apple’s decision to empower the state won’t fix the housing issue.

In a report for The Atlantic, Annie Lowrey explained that the housing crisis created a series of other problems as more homes were built outside of large California cities. 

But as the sprawling grew “into the periphery,” she wrote, houses were built in fire-vulnerable spots. With wildfires happening nearly all year long in different areas, and as restrictive zoning and climate change laws making it more difficult for builders to build elsewhere, legislators consider passing bills that would make it easier for builders to create more housing in urban areas — which are already overpopulated. 

Considering that large cities in the state already suffer because of the traffic, this effort will only create more problems for locals. Especially because the metropolitan transit systems can’t handle the surplus of residents. So what will Apple’s programs really do in the end? The answer is a simple one: further, inflate the demand for housing.

In the end, people who want to stick around but can’t afford it will feel justified as the ongoing effort to accommodate everybody gives people the idea they have a right to live in the Golden State. The reality is that California is an expensive place to live. As local and state governments worsened the situation with rent control, restrictive zoning laws, and unrealistic “green” laws that make building more expensive, homelessness became a major problem, especially now that “tent cities” can be seen across major cities like Los Angeles. All of this helped to further push the pricing of housing. 

Over the years, this provoked a major exodus of working-class Californians. But now, the state, as well as folks like Cook, are telling people not to worry, and that affordable housing is finally on its way.

It’s hard to know when the madness will stop, but it’s easy to see who will pay the price for a show of horrors: the working class. 

Once tired Californians notice they were duped, they will finally leave in droves. And there will be no one left to pay the bills. 

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