Amazon pledges $ 2 billion for affordable housing in 3 US cities
Amazon announced $ 2 billion in loans and grants to secure affordable housing in three U.S. cities where it has major operations
SEATTLE – Amazon has announced $ 2 billion in loans and grants to secure affordable housing in three U.S. cities where it has major operations, including a Seattle suburb where the online retail giant employs at least 5 000 workers.
Amazon said it would give the King County Housing Authority $ 185.5 million to help buy affordable apartments in the area and keep rents low, the Seattle Times reported Wednesday.
Other tech companies have recently invested large sums to boost affordable housing, after years of complaints that they have worsened inequalities in cities by pushing up house prices.
Two years ago, Microsoft launched its own initiative and is spending $ 750 million to help provide market rate or below market rate loans to developers who want to build affordable housing in the Seattle area.
The funding “will help local families achieve long-term stability while building strong and inclusive communities,” said Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.
While Amazon and Bezos have contributed significant sums for affordable housing and homeless services, including opening a homeless shelter on the campus of its Seattle headquarters, the company has also despised for successfully lobbying Seattle City Council to overturn a tax on large corporations that funded homeless services in 2018.
Stephen Norman, executive director of the King County Housing Authority, said affordable housing is often renovated and rents are increased, further compounding economic and racial segregation.
“This is a long strategy to ensure… that this community does not empty out,” he said.
Norman added that the money should cover about 45% of the cost of the three apartment buildings.