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Fewer Americans believe black people have same opportunities as white people

“Asked about housing, 72 percent of whites said blacks had equal opportunities compared to 40 percent of blacks” reports nypost.com. The survey found that 89 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of independents and 37 percent of Democrats believe blacks have the same opportunities as whites in the job market.Ninety percent of Republicans, 71 percent of independents and 47 percent of Democrats think blacks have equal chances for housing. Source: nypost.com

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commit $475 million for loans to affordable housing developers over three years and another $25 million to services for low-income and homeless residents

“They estimate that there is a gap of about 305,000 middle and low-income affordable housing units in the region” writes Monica Nickelsburg for geekwire.com. Microsoft is also encouraging the state of Washington to invest in affordable housing.They found that since 2011, jobs in the Seattle region have grown 21 percent while growth in housing construction has lagged behind at 13 percent.Over the past decade, big tech companies have drawn thousands of newcomers to the Seattle tech region with lucrative tech jobs, bidding up housing costs and often squeezing out low-income…

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Markets News 

Mortgage rates stay subdued, bringing relief to slumping housing market

“The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.45% in the January 17 week, mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac said Thursday” writes Andrea Riquier for marketwatch.com. Even as mortgage rates have declined or stayed steady over the past few months, Americans have applied for home loans in droves.The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.88%, down one basis point.The 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 3.87%, up from 3.83%.Americans flocked to line up financing for home purchases as rates for home loans remained favorable, suggesting the recent housing downturn may be easing. Source: marketwatch.com

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Microsoft Puts Its Money Where Seattle’s Housing Crisis Is

“A December report from the King County Regional Affordable Housing Task Force found 156,000 more affordable housing units are needed, plus an additional 88,000 by 2040 if growth continues” writes Arden Dier for newser.com. In contrast, Seattle-based Amazon last year helped block a per-employee tax on large businesses that would’ve allowed for more affordable housing and homeless services.(Newser) – Microsoft is looking to ensure a roof over employees’ heads, putting up $500 million to assist with affordable housing in the Seattle area. Source: newser.com

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Microsoft is dropping a lot of money to help improve affordable housing in Seattle

“Down in California, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have put their money towards affordable housing initiatives through their foundation” writes Johnny Lieu for mashable.com. It conceded that more money will be needed to solve these issues, as well as public policy changes to help make affordable housing more attractive to build.A municipal report from December declared the Seattle region needs 240,000 more affordable housing units by 2040, to ensure low-income households are not spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.Now, Microsoft is following other tech…

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Microsoft Pledges $500 Million to Tackle Seattle’s Affordable Housing Crisis

“The tech giant announced Wednesday that it would commit $500 million to advance affordable housing solutions across the region” writes Natasha Bach for fortune.com. Microsoft is taking the housing crisis in the Seattle area into its own hands.As part of its pledge, Microsoft plans to fund affordable housing not just for its own employees, but also other middle- and low- income residents, including teachers, nurses, and firefighters.Amazon reportedly said it would stop construction on a new building in the Seattle area if the tax passed, claiming it disincentivized job creation. Source:…

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Microsoft will spend $500 million on building affordable housing in Seattle

“Microsoft announced in a press release on Wednesday that it is pledging $500 million to help develop affordable housing in the Seattle area” writes Isobel Asher Hamilton for businessinsider.com. Recently, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff threw his support behind a proposition to tax big tech companies to help alleviate homelessness in San Francisco. Seattle’s other resident tech giant is Amazon, which successfully killed a proposed Seattle City Council tax, which would have taxed large companies $275 per employee.”Median income in the region hasn’t kept pace with rising housing costs, increasingly making…

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Microsoft pledges $500M to tackle Seattle housing crisis

“Microsoft pledged $500 million to address homelessness and develop affordable housing in response to the Seattle region’s widening affordability gap” writes unknown author for cnbc.com. It’s too early to say exactly how much affordable housing will ultimately result from the $500 million, Microsoft officials said.The pledge is the largest in the company’s 44-year history, and, according to the company, is one of the heftiest contributions by a private corporation to housing, The Seattle Times reported.Smith said the company, based in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, hopes to leverage the fund…

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Falling wages, rising housing costs fuel homelessness among aging Americans…

“The report said the coming boom in aging homeless people stems from younger, less educated baby boomers who faced economic challenges in their youth: falling wages and rising housing costs” writes Stacey Burling for chicagotribune.com. It said that improvements in housing plus services aimed at preventing medical crises could sometimes save cities money. They estimated that costs would rise in Boston, but that New York and Los Angeles County could save $20 million to $33 million a year by providing more housing and medical services. Source: chicagotribune.com

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Unpaid federal workers owe more than $400 million in mortgage and rent payments this month

“For many federal workers, keeping a roof over their heads got a lot harder in January thanks to the partial government shutdown that is approaching its third week” writes Jacob Passy for marketwatch.com. Consequently, the Federal Housing Administration could be delated in processing and endorsing the mortgage loans it insures, which could force some would-be home buyers to forego their planned purchases.Last month, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the agency that oversees civilian workers in the federal government, made suggestions on Twitter TWTR, +1.02%  for affected workers to negotiate…

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