NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Amazon has announced a $2 billion commitment to create affordable housing in Nashville, Arlington, Virginia and in the Puget Sound region of Washington State -- three locations where the company has or expects to have at least 5,000 employees each in the coming years.
Amazon said Wednesday that its Housing Equity Fund will “preserve and create” more than 20,000 affordable housing units. The company said it’s providing below-market capital in the form of loans, lines of credit and grants to create affordable homes for moderate to low-income families.
In each area, Amazon is targeting households making between 30% to 80% of the area’s median income.
“This new $2 billion 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.
According to a release, the fund will "provide an additional $125 million 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." The fund will also give grants to government partners that are not traditionally involved in affordable housing issues, such as transit agencies and school districts, to provide them with resources to "advance and create equitable and affordable housing initiatives."
Amazon also announced a $100,000 investment to help Nashville State students currently participating in the Nashville GRAD (Getting Results by Advancing Degrees) program, which provides resources beyond tuition, including a laptop, textbooks, transportation and food assistance, along with connecting them with a dedicated success advisor.
“For students juggling work and life responsibilities, completing college can be challenging,” said Courtney Ross, Amazon’s senior manager of external affairs in Nashville. “By providing more students with support they need to secure their degrees, Nashville GRAD is opening doors of opportunity, right here, in Nashville. We’re honored to support this initiative and hope our investment will encourage other companies to deepen their involvement, as well.”
Amazon selected Nashville as its East Coast hub of operations in 2018. The company chose Northern Virginia as the site of its second headquarters, known as HQ2.