Amazon’s new housing equity fund will invest in moderate to low income housing around Seattle, Nashville and Arlington, Virginia, where the company ultimately expects to have at least 5,000 employees each, the company said.
The first investment of more than $567 million will go toward 1,300 affordable apartment units near “HQ2,” Amazon’s new Virginia headquarters, and up to 1,000 apartments near its Seattle, Washington headquarters.
In Arlington, Amazon said it has invested $381.9 million in loans offered at below market rates, as well as grants to Washington housing conservancy that will go toward 1,300 affordable homes on the crystal house property near HQ2, and in Washington, Amazon’s investment of $185.5 million went to the king county housing authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in Bellevue.
Amazon has been criticized in the past for gentrifying the areas where it has opened large operations and driving up the cost of housing. According to the company, its new approach is designed to help low and middle income families in the areas it currently calls home.
In each of the three regions, the company is targeting homes for households making between 30% to 80% of the area’s median income.
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 shortage of affordable housing, which disproportionately affects people of color, Amazon said.
The fund will also give grants to government partners, like transit agencies and school districts, to help working families in those fields.