Amazon launches over 2 bln USD Housing Equity Fund


SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- Amazon on Wednesday announced the Housing Equity Fund, a more than 2 billion U.S. dollars commitment to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in the U.S. state of Washington's Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville, Tennessee.

The company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees in the three communities in the coming years, Amazon said.

Amazon's Housing Equity Fund will help preserve existing housing and help create inclusive housing developments through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies, and minority-led organizations, according to the announcement.

Amazon's first investments include 381.9 million U.S. dollars 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 dollars in below-market loans and grants to King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in the state of Washington, with additional investments to come in all three regions, the announcement said.

"This new 2 billion U.S. dollars 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," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO.

Amazon is targeting households making between 30 percent to 80 percent of the area's median income (AMI). In the Washington, D.C. metro area, this translates to a household of four earning less than 79,600 U.S. dollars a year. In the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area, this translates to a household of four earning less than 95,250 dollars a year, according to the company.

Amazon's Housing Equity Fund will also provide an additional 125 million dollars 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.

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