SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tired of the absurdly high rent you have to pay to live in the Bay Area? Well, you might be in luck.
A Silicon Valley startup is offering qualified applicants a temporary incentive of $10,000 to leave.
The San Jose-based company, MainStreet, was started by three former Google employees with the goal of creating jobs and opportunities in suburban and rural communities in America.
“The ‘$10,000 to leave the Bay Area’ came about by asking ourselves the question: What is a fun, interesting way to draw attention to a serious and sober mission?” MainStreet CEO Doug Ludlow wrote in an email to CNN. “Our mission is to create jobs in suburban and rural communities, and our goal is to create 1,000,000 new jobs over the next decade.”
There is a catch, though: Qualified applicants who accept the offer must remain in their position for a full year before they receive the payout, and Ludlow said the company is only offering the $10,000 payouts through the end of November.
So, if you want in, you only have a little more than two weeks to act.
The housing crisis
MainStreet hopes to expand the number of companies that allow remote work, which could fulfill its goal of creating jobs in suburban and rural communities while helping to address the housing crisis in the Bay Area.
It’s no secret that the housing crisis in San Francisco’s Bay Area is a major problem, as affordable housing has dwindled, thanks to the mass of tech companies and well-paid workers pushing out low-income and middle-class workers.
Apple recently announced a $2.5 billion financial package to help address the housing crisis in California.
Google has committed $1 billion to redevelop company owned land for affordable housing while also developing a fund to incentivize developers to build affordable housing in the region.
And Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg has helped raise $500 million to support an investment fund he helped launch called Partnership for the Bay’s Future, which aims to help fight the housing crisis.
“The high cost of living is an enormous problem in the San Francisco Bay Area,” Ludlow said. “As a result, families who have lived in the area for decades are now being priced out of their homes. This isn’t a sustainable way to grow and maintain a community, and it’s a huge problem.”
The future of work?
Companies work with MainStreet to recruit and train employees who are interested in moving out of the Bay Area and working remotely. These employees will be trained by MainStreet on tools such as remote video conferencing for easier communication, and will work out of satellite offices that Ludlow calls “MainStreet communities.”
These offices will allow workers to work alongside other remote workers, some of which could be from different companies, as it could reduce the isolation many remote workers may feel.
While these remote workers will be employed by that company, MainStreet will handle the logistics and training to get them setup to work remotely.
Ludlow believes that remote workers will play a pivotal role in “the future of work,” and said that the company is building “a sophisticated set of technological tools and services that will help make effective remote work a reality for suburban and rural communities.”
“The benefits of effective remote work are clear — employees are happier, and if they are happierl they are far more likely to stay with your company,” said Ludlow. “In addition, in the Bay Area and New Yorkl you have to pay people astronomically high salaries. In other regions, companies can pay their employees less, yet because of the reduced cost of living, these employees have a much higher quality of life than their Bay Area counterparts.”
And if that isn’t enough to entice potential applicants, MainStreet is guaranteeing a stipend of up to $5,000 a month for three months and health care benefits for their family if they lose their job.
The company’s mission seems to be resonating with a number of cities, as Ludlow said that they are working with a number of state economic development commissions and mayor’s offices. Bringing these highly skilled employees that may otherwise be employed at Google or Apple could offer a boost to the local economy.
“There has been a lot of interest from cities and states in our company,” said Ludlow. “It’s great when incentives can be aligned to the public and private sectors for the benefit of ordinary people.”