Amazon will provide $150 million to build and preserve 1,700 units of affordable housing in Seattle and neighboring cities.
The new funding, announced Monday at a press conference with Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell, will go to 10 nonprofit organizations to pay for low-rate loans and grants. It’s part of the company’s $2 billion Amazon Housing Equity Fund to support the increase in affordable homes in the regions of Seattle, Nashville, Tenn., and Arlington, Va.
Amazon’s total contribution to the initiative is now more than $500 million for the Seattle area.
The region has struggled to shelter thousands of unhoused residents since leaders declared a homelessness emergency in 2015.
As Amazon and other tech companies have grown dramatically and attracted high-paid workers in recent years, some of the region’s leaders and residents have blamed the companies at least in part for the affordable housing shortage.
Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund is an attempt to leverage its extraordinary financial assets to address disparities in three communities where its rapid growth risks deepening the economic divide.
Microsoft in 2019 announced its own initiative to support an increase of affordable housing. The Redmond, Wash.-based company has earmarked $750 million for its efforts.
Here are the Seattle-area projects benefiting from the new money from Amazon:
Greater Seattle area projects:
- Renton Sage Apartments in Renton will preserve 284 affordable housing units in partnership with Bellwether Housing.
- Samma Senior Apartment Community in Bothell will include 76 affordable units for senior citizens through Imagine Housing.
- The Blueprint Portfolio will preserve 354 affordable housing units in six buildings in the Greater Seattle area by working with SRM Development.
- Housing Hilltop in Tacoma is building an apartment with 230 affordable units with support for the Tacoma Housing Authority (THA).
- Redondo Heights in Federal Way is a new development with 334 homes with funding for Shelter Resources.
- Grata at Totem Lake in Kirkland is a new apartment development with 125 affordable units.