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Amazon sets out to create affordable communities

Amazon say the New Housing Equity Fund will preserve and create equitable housing through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, public agencies, and minority-led organisations, investing initially with $567 million will make up to 1,300 affordable apartment homes in the community around its new headquarters in Virginia, and up to 1,000 apartment homes available near Amazon’s Puget Sound, Washington headquarters.

Amazon has announced a Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units.

Areas within Washington State, Virginia and Tennessee will be the sites of Amazon’s investment – all communities the company has or expects to have at least 5000 employees each in the coming years.

In Seattle, Washington State, where the company has its headquarters and there exists a huge housing shortage, the company already has approximately 75,000 employees.

The funds will not be going to build affordable housing directly, but to create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies, and minority-led organisations, with Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos saying the fund underscores Amazon’s commitment to affordable housing.

They believe the move will help ensure moderate to low-income families in the areas can afford housing in resource-rich communities with easy access to neighborhood services, amenities, and jobs while building inclusive communities.

Amazon already operate a women’s and children’s shelter inside their Puget Sound, Washington headquarters, supporting over 200 people each night, says Bezos.

In addition to preserving existing buildings, Amazon’s first investments include $381.9 million in below-market loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy to preserve and create up to 1300 affordable homes on the Crystal House property in Arlington. 

As a part of the fund, they also announced $185.5 million in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1000 affordable homes in the state of Washington, with additional investments to come in all three regions.

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