Microsoft Corp. has teamed up with the King County Housing Authority (KCHA) and King County to provide a $60 million loan at a below-market rate as part of an effort to preserve 1,029 units of affordable housing in the county.
The Microsoft loan commitment is part of the company’s pledge to provide $500 million in loans and grants to support affordable housing preservation and development in the Puget Sound region. Along with Microsoft’s contribution, KCHA is issuing $140 million in bonds and King County is providing an additional $20 million in low-interest debt and credit enhancements.
“We are committed to maintaining and bolstering strong, vibrant communities here in the greater Puget Sound region," said Jane Broom, senior director of Microsoft Philanthropies. “Thriving communities include safe, reliable and affordable housing options for people at all income levels.”
The multimillion-dollar investment package will be used to acquire and stabilize rents at five apartment properties in Kirkland, Bellevue and Federal Way. The goal of the investment is to save renters at the complexes an estimated $450 million in housing costs over 30 years, compared to what they would pay in rent collectively if the properties remained under for-profit ownership charging market-rate rents.
King County has lost an estimated 36,000 affordable rental units over the past decade, with rents spiking by 43% over that period, local studies indicate.
“Across the Puget Sound region, people with lower and even middle incomes have been forced to move due to rising housing costs," says KCHA Executive Director Stephen Norman. “We believe this investment, which requires a good corporate partner to make the numbers work, will ultimately help stabilize rents and safeguard more than 3,000 existing tenants from being priced out of their homes.”
This past June, Microsoft also provided a $5 million grant to Plymouth Housing, a nonprofit that operates permanent supportive residences for the homeless.