In key areas of the United States, affordable housing is nearly impossible to find. While this is a huge problem for many reasons, Big Tech companies are particularly concerned. Without affordable housing in major cities, these companies have a hard time finding and attracting new employees.
Now, Amazon is committing $2 billion to help address the issue. The money will go to three areas that it considers major employment hubs. Included are the Puget Sound region near Seattle, Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee.
The Verge reports that these three locations were selected because Amazon is building out major offices nearby. Therefore, the e-commerce giant wants potential employees to have safe, affordable housing.
Ensuring Affordable Housing
Amazon is a massive company. As a result, it employs vast quantities of workers anywhere that it sets up shop. For instance, in the Seattle area, it employs more than 75,000 people. In both Virginia and Tennessee, there are more than 1,000 Amazon employees. However, those areas are growing quickly and the company plans to develop a workforce of 5,000 people for each location in the coming days.
In total, Amazon employs over one million people across its various operations.
It’s worth noting that the company’s recent move to dedicate $2 billion to affordable housing doesn’t come from the goodness of its heart. Rather, the money will help ensure that it is able to recruit a strong workforce in these key markets.
In a press release, Amazon says, “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.”
It continues, “The Fund underscores Amazon’s commitment to affordable housing and will help ensure that moderate- to low-income families can afford housing in resource-rich communities with easy access to neighborhood services, amenities, and jobs.”
Money in Action
Amazon’s $2 billion spending measure will be divided in a few ways to make it more effective. The company says that its first investment includes $381.9 million in “below-market loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy.”
It claims that this investment will help create 1,300 affordable homes in Arlington. Meanwhile, $185.5 million in below-market loans will go to the King County Housing Authority. This will help preserve 1,000 affordable homes in Washington state.
Amazon plans to announce the details regarding its additional investments in the coming days. In total, it says that the funding will help support 20,000 affordable homes in the three regions noted above.
Housing initiatives like this one are often the result of pushback from local governments. When Big Tech firms move into an area to set up a headquarters, many local citizens are displaced as housing prices rise due to increased demand. As a result, companies pour money into affordable housing campaigns to help retain employees in the area.
That appears to be what Amazon is doing with this project as it plans to expand its footprint in Seattle, Arlington, and Nashville.