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Amazon Launches $2-Billion Housing Equity Fund

E-commerce giant Amazon, which is building major distribution and fulfillment centers in Montgomery and New Windsor in Orange County, has launched a $2-billion Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable homes in Washington State’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, VA and Nashville, TN.


Amazon’s new Housing Equity Fund is geared to preserving existing housing and create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies and minority-led organizations. The fund will support Amazon's commitment to affordable housing and will help ensure moderate- to low-income families can afford housing in communities with easy access to neighborhood services, amenities, and jobs, the company stated.


Amazon is building a more than 1-million-square-foot distribution center in the Town of Montgomery that has been estimated to be valued at approximately $75 million. The firm also just recently opened a 227,000-square-foot delivery center at 500 Hudson Valley Ave., near New York Stewart International Airport.


"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 first 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, and $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to the King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in the state of Washington.


Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund includes: $2 billion in below-market capital. The firm is providing below-market capital in the form of loans, lines of credit, and grants to preserve and create 20,000 homes affordable for moderate- to low-income families. Amazon is supporting households making between 30% and 80% of the area’s median income—that’s less than $79,600 per year for a family of four in the Washington, DC, metro area. In the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area, this translates to a household of four earning less than $95,250 a year.


Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund will provide an additional $125 million in cash grants to businesses, nonprofits, and minority-led organizations to help them build a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately affects communities of color. The fund will give grants to government partners not traditionally involved in affordable housing issues, such as transit agencies and school districts, to provide them with resources to advance and create equitable and affordable housing initiatives.


"In booming cities across the US, many apartment buildings affordable for teachers, healthcare providers, transit workers, and others with modest incomes are increasingly being redeveloped into luxury apartments, causing displacement and reducing housing options for working families," said Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute. "Investments like those announced today by Amazon that help preserve these existing buildings and maintain moderate rent levels are critical to local efforts that promote economic inclusion and support the stability and economic mobility of moderate- and low-income families."