Amazon invests $ 2 billion to build affordable housing in these three cities


The tech giant’s new Housing Equity Fund will invest in moderate to low-income housing around Seattle, Nashville and Arlington, Va., Where the company ultimately hopes to have at least 5,000 employees each.

“This new $ 2 billion housing equity fund will create or preserve 20,000 affordable housing units in our three headquarters regions – Arlington, Puget Sound and Nashville,” said Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon , in a press release. “It will also help local families achieve long-term stability while building strong and inclusive communities.”

The first investment of more than $ 567 million will go to 1,300 affordable apartments near “HQ2,” Amazon’s new headquarters in Virginia, and up to 1,000 apartments near its headquarters in Seattle, Washington.

In Arlington, Amazon said it has invested $ 381.9 million in loans offered at below market rates, as well as grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy that will go to 1,300 affordable housing units on the Crystal House property near HQ2. And in Washington, Amazon’s $ 185.5 million investment went to the King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes. at Bellevue.

Amazon has been criticized in the past for gentrifying areas where it has opened large operations and pushed up the cost of housing.
A number of cities competed aggressively to become the new headquarters for HQ2 – Arlington, Va., And Long Island City, Queens, New York, ultimately winning the bid for a split headquarters in 2018.
But backlash from community leaders and local government officials in Queens ultimately led to Amazon pulling out of New York City. Local officials said at the time that Amazon showed little interest in conversations about issues such as road congestion and rising housing costs that may have accompanied thousands of highly paid tech workers in the Queens.

Amazon says its new approach is designed to help low- and middle-income families in areas where it is currently located.

In each of the three regions, the company targets dwellings of households earning between 30% and 80% of the median income in the area.

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In addition to its $ 2 billion investment, the fund also includes $ 125 million in grants to minority-led organizations and public agencies aimed at improving the affordable housing shortage, which disproportionately affects people of color. Amazon said.

The fund will also provide grants to government partners, such as transit agencies and school districts, to help working families in these areas.

“In the booming cities of the United States, many affordable apartment buildings for teachers, health care providers, transit workers and others with low incomes are increasingly being redeveloped. into luxury apartments, resulting in travel and reducing housing options for working families, ”said Sarah Rosen Wartell president of the Urban Institute in a statement.

“Investments like those announced by Amazon that help preserve these existing buildings and maintain moderate rent levels are essential to local efforts that promote economic inclusion and support the stability and economic mobility of moderate and low-income families. ”

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