Amazon on Wednesday announced a $2 billion investment in affordable housing in communities where it has a significant business presence.
The online retail giant created the Housing Equity Fund, which is designed to “preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units” in the Puget Sound region in Washington state, as well as Nashville and Arlington, Virginia. Amazon has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees in each of these areas in the near future.
“Amazon has a long-standing commitment to helping people in need, including the Mary’s Place family shelter we built inside our Puget Sound headquarters. The shelter now supports over 200 women and children experiencing homelessness every night,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “This new $2 billion Housing Equity Fund will create or preserve 20,000 affordable homes in all three of our headquarters regions—Arlington, Puget Sound, and Nashville. It will also help local families achieve long-term stability while building strong, inclusive communities.”
The fund will provide below-market loans and grants to housing groups, traditional and non-traditional agencies, and minority led organizations, Amazon said. Initial investments include:
- $381.9 million in below-market loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy to preserve and create up to 1,300 affordable homes on the Crystal House property in Arlington.
- $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in the state of Washington.
Additional investments are planned in all three regions.
“With Amazon’s support, we are advancing our vision for inclusive, mixed-income communities of racially diverse middle-income and low-income families and individuals, to live near their employment and access high-performing schools and community amenities,” said Kimberly Driggins, Executive Director, Washington Housing Conservancy.
“Amazon’s investment in affordable housing in Arlington is transformational—and couldn’t come at a better time,” said Matt de Ferranti, Arlington County Board Chair. “We are delighted to further strengthen our partnership with Amazon and to work together to serve our shared commitment to equity and economic opportunity for all of our residents.”
More details on Amazon’s plans are available here and in this video: