Amazon pledged a portion of $2 billion to provide affordable housing within the Nashville community for lower-income families. The remainder of the Housing Equity Fund will be granted to expand affordable housing opportunities within two of its headquarter locations in Washington and Virginia.
According to their press release, Amazon’s funding will impact 20,000 homes in the areas surrounding those three locations.
“[This fund will] preserve 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,” stated Amazon. “[It] will help ensure moderate- to low-income families can afford housing in communities with easy access to neighborhood services, amenities, and jobs.”
The Tennessee Star reached out to Amazon to inquire about the specifics behind their plans to implement the housing initiative over the next five years, and how many of the 20,000 homes would be within Nashville. One of their spokespersons informed The Star that they are unable to divulge further details about Nashville’s development at this time. However, they were able to confirm that the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t a factor in creating or planning the housing initiative.
Nashville’s Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency oversees an affordable housing program as well. The Star reached out to their spokespersons, but didn’t receive a response by press time.
Amazon invested $230 million to build its Operations Center of Excellence in downtown Nashville in 2018, promising $1 billion in new tax revenue and 5,000 jobs. As The Star reported, Nashville fell short as a finalist for Amazon’s HQ2 but remained alluring enough for Amazon to plant another form of their operations there.
The company also announced that its Housing Equity Fund would include an additional $125 million in cash grants for minority-led businesses, organizations, and non-profits. Amazon described it as “a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis” that “disproportionately affects communities of color.”
Additionally, Amazon stated that its fund would offer an unspecified number of grants to government partners “not traditionally involved in affordable housing issues.” They listed transit agencies and school districts as two examples of those partners.
The first housing agencies in line to receive the fund include Washington Housing Conservancy in D.C. and King County Housing Authority in Washington. For current homeowners in Nashville in need of property tax relief in the meantime, Amazon helped create The Housing Fund.
The company also created a contact resource for inquiries concerning their future work with their affordable housing initiative.
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