Grand Street Commons, a project in Seattle supported by the Amazon Housing Equity Fund
Amazon said Thursday it was giving $23 million to minority-run organizations to build and preserve more than 568 affordable homes in Seattle, a step to easing the local housing crisis.
Amazon Housing Equity Fund, which focuses on helping households that earn 30-80% of an area’s median income, will support the investment. Launched in 2021, the fund has provided $1.2 billion for more than 8,000 affordable housing units in Washington’s Puget Sound region, the Arlington, Virginia area, and Nashville, Tennessee.
Amazon works with three housing partners — the Mount Baker Housing Authority (MBHA), El Centro de la Raza, and Gardner Global — and focuses on neighborhoods with high populations of people of color.
“We are committed to helping solve the housing crisis in the Puget Sound area, which disproportionately affects communities of color,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “In supporting these projects, we focus on equity by not only increasing access to affordable housing, but also by intentionally choosing those we select as development partners.”
Washington’s Puget Sound area is home to offices for tech companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. Microsoft, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, has also provided housing funds in the area.
Seattle residents have blamed Amazon for raising the cost of homeownership. House prices in Bellevue soared, even surpassing Manhattan, after Amazon expanded its towers in suburban Seattle, according to Redfin data cited by Bloomberg.
“When our city’s business and private partners step up, as Amazon is doing through this significant investment, we can accelerate progress in addressing tough challenges like housing affordability,” said the Mayor of Seattle, Bruce Harrell, in a press release announcing the investment.