July 26, 2023
Apple partnerships help more than 40,000 Californians access affordable housing and resources
In 2021, as so many communities continued to grapple with the financial effects of the pandemic, Fernando Cortes struggled to find work and pay his bills. A friend told him that Destination: Home, a nonprofit focused on the unhoused and supported in part by Apple, could help defray the cost of his rental payments as part of its Homelessness Prevention System.
“I wouldn’t have been able to continue living in my home without that support,” says Cortes, who lives in Sunnyvale, California, with his 10-year-old son. “I think it’s really important for people to know that there are organizations like this where they can go to get help.”
What the 43-year-old didn’t expect was to be invited to join an advisory board designed to help improve the organization’s Homelessness Prevention System process for other people who have experienced or are at risk of losing their housing.
“Even though things are going much better now and I’m not in that situation anymore, it means a lot to be able to give back,” says Cortes. “I want to make sure other people know that when they go get help, there’s somebody there listening to them and working to improve things.”
Apple has partnered with Destination: Home, as well as California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), and Housing Trust Silicon Valley as part of its $2.5 billion commitment to address the housing crisis across California.
The company has also teamed up with United Way of Greater Los Angeles to fund the Affordable Housing Initiative, a social impact fund that supports the creation of affordable housing for individuals and families who are unhoused or at risk of falling into homelessness.
Given the complexity of the affordable housing crisis, Apple has worked with community partners to identify a diverse array of programs and projects that approach the challenge in distinct ways. Apple has now deployed nearly $1.5 billion to support affordable housing across the state, including the construction of thousands of units of new housing, programs to support vulnerable populations, assistance for thousands of first-time homeowners, and an innovative bond recycling program to finance new developments.
Cortes and his son are among more than 40,000 Californians who are receiving housing support through the projects and programs Apple has helped fund. Apple-supported projects are creating new homes for close to 20,000 individuals, and another nearly 24,000 people who were at risk of losing their homes have been able to stay housed.
“We are proud to be working side by side with organizations across the state to help ensure communities and families here can thrive,” said Kristina Raspe, Apple’s vice president for Global Real Estate and Facilities. “Our partnerships have helped many across the community move into new homes, and are helping keep many more families in housing.”
One tenet of the company’s statewide housing initiative is the CalHFA Bond Recycling Program, which was launched with Apple’s support. The unique program creates an additional avenue of financing to help fund affordable housing developments, and has allowed CalHFA to access hundreds of millions of dollars in otherwise unavailable affordable housing funding, multiplying the scale of Apple’s commitment to the program.
Linda Smith and her husband moved into one of those developments, Cedar Grove Apartments in Santa Rosa, California, after their home of 28 years was foreclosed on.
“I’m really happy — I feel blessed that we got into this new apartment,” says Smith, 75. “The people at Cedar Grove have just been so beautiful to work with. They kept us posted so we could get in quickly — we ended up being one of the first people to move in once it was built.”
The timing couldn’t have been more critical, as Smith’s husband was facing health issues and they had already been forced to leave the home they shared with numerous family members. Shortly after they moved into Cedar Grove in October, Smith’s daughter and granddaughter relocated to the area as well.
“I’ve gotten involved here — I started the community garden with my granddaughter, who I babysit,” says Smith. “When we’re out there working on it, all the kids gather around and get excited. I hurt my leg a few weeks ago and couldn’t get out to water it, and my neighbors noticed and have been watering it for me — I didn’t have to ask; they just started helping.”
Cedar Grove is one of 22 developments that are providing thousands of units of affordable housing through the CalHFA Bond Recycling Program, including numerous new projects under construction and others that are using the funding to rehabilitate aging units for new tenants. In partnership with CalHFA, Apple has also provided mortgage and down payment assistance to thousands of low- and moderate-income first-time homebuyers.
Housing Trust Silicon Valley and Apple’s public-private partnership has helped fund the creation of more than 1,000 new homes. Two of these buildings are currently in operation, five developments have been completed or are nearly complete, and six developments are under construction. That includes The Kelsey in San Francisco, a fully accessible, disability-forward apartment building that will house a ground-level commercial space for green businesses that employ people of all abilities, incomes, and backgrounds.
Over the past several years, Destination: Home has continued to expand its Homelessness Prevention System with Apple’s support, providing direct financial assistance to nearly 24,000 people, including Fernando Cortes and his son. Funds from Apple have also enabled Destination: Home to help create several thousand new supportive and extremely low-income homes in the Bay Area, and increased access to technology equipment and free high-speed internet for hundreds of low-income residents.
Ingrid Granados, an initiatives officer with Destination: Home, has helped connect countless families in her community to the wide array of resources the nonprofit can make available to people.
“We know that if people don’t stay housed, everything worsens, right? Their outcomes, the cost on society, the kids’ educational impact — all of it,” she says. “The federal money our organization received had to go to help people pay rent, but we knew that was only one part of the equation. Apple really allowed us to have flexible funding for not only rental assistance, but other necessities to help families meet their individual needs.”
Granados approaches each person with a level of understanding born out of shared experience — three years ago she was on the brink of homelessness.
“I remember my caseworker giving me a hug at Christmas and telling me, ‘Come and get food — do not feel shame,’” she says.
Granados has known Fernando Cortes since he first reached out to Destination: Home. He’s thankful to her and the organization for not just helping him with rental assistance, but also connecting him with resources that have had a huge impact on his life and the life of his son.
“I took a parenting class, and one of the tasks was to construct a heart, so I made a heart pillow for him,” says Cortes. “I think that he understands on some level that we have been helped by others — and I’m reminded of the difference it’s made when I see the pillow he still sleeps with to this day.”
Rachel Wolf Tulley
Apple Media Helpline