Over the next five years Seattle-based online real estate giant Zillow Group will dedicate money, services, products and resources to address housing insecurity across the nation through its first social impact program, “The Home Project.”
As home prices continue to surge and wages fail to keep up, thousands of people in the U.S. teeter on the edge of homelessness. According to Zillow research, a 5 percent rent increase in the cities of New York, Los Angeles and Seattle could leave many unable to afford a place to live, while others are one medical expense or job loss away from losing their home.
Zillow has pledged $5 million in effort to allay some of these housing concerns.
As part of the initiative’s “Community Partners” component, Zillow will join forces with non-profits located where the company has offices. Each partner will receive $25,000 in addition to product development, marketing resources, economic research and volunteer time.
The company’s 2017 partners include:
- Women in Need (New York)
- Habitat for Humanity of Orange County (Irvine, Calif.)
- Mary’s Place, Downtown Emergency Services Center and Seattle Housing Authority (all located in Seattle)
Zillow Group employees can also become “Neighborhood Ambassadors” by nominating local non-profits to receive a $1,500 donation and volunteer support.
Finally, the company plans to leverage its tech resources to create products across its various real estate brands that connect buyers and renters with secure housing. (HotPads, a Zillow Group subsidiary, helped connect the displaced in Santa Rosa, California, with temporary housing amid the Northern California wildfires, for example).
“At Zillow Group, our mission every day is to help millions of Americans find the place they call home, and we are uniquely positioned to understand the challenges some face and impact their housing outcomes,” said Amy Bohutinsky, COO of Zillow Group in a statement. “Focusing on housing security is a natural extension of our work, and we will tackle it with all the resources we have to offer.”