Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) has pledged to invest over $2 billion in the next five years to try and fix the affordable housing crisis in their cities where it has operations. The company becomes the latest tech giant to pledge investment for affordable housing.
Three cities benefit from Amazon’s housing investment
The eCommerce giant will invest in three hub cities which include Nashville, Tennessee, and Seattle, Arlington, Virginia. Amazon currently has around 75,000 employees living around Seattle where its main headquarters are based. In Arlington, there are over 1,000 employees across Potomac from Washington DC where the company established a second headquarters while in Nashville the company is constructing an operations center. Amazon is planning to have around 5,000 employees in all these regions in the next five years.
The company’s Housing Equity Fund will commit investments into low to moderate-income housing and they will create around 20,000 affordable housing units in the regions. The company’s CEO and Founder, Jeff Bezos said that the investment will help local families attain long-term stability as the company supports inclusive communities.
Amazon to build 1,300 affordable houses in Virginia
The first investment of around $567 million will be put into the construction of 1,300 affordable units near the company’s new headquarters in Virginia and around 1,000 housing units near Seattle. The company said that in Arlington it has invested around $381.9 million in loans that were provided at below-market rates and grants to Washington Housing Conservancy that will go into developing 1,300 affordable units on the crystal house property near its HQ2. In Washington, the company’s $185.5 million investment went to King County Housing Authority for around 1,000 affordable housing units in Bellevue.
In the past the company has been criticized for gentrifying there are where its operations and resulting in an increase in housing costs. The company indicates that its new approach aims at helping moderate- and low-income families around the areas it calls home. The target in the regions are families making 30% to 80% of the area’s average income.