WASHINGTON — Editor's note: The video above was first published in October 2019.
Amazon says it is committing $2 billion to help fund affordable housing units in Washington, Virginia and Tennessee.
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," according to a press release.
The company says it will create 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington State's Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee, communities with more than 5,000 Amazon employees expected in the coming years.
"[The equity fund] will also help local families achieve long-term stability while building strong, inclusive communities," Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.
The online retailer says it has already committed nearly $382 million in loans and grants to the Washington Housing Conservancy to create 1,300 affordable homes in Arlington. A similar $185 million program has been established with the King County Housing Authority to preserve up to 1,000 affordable homes in Washington.
In addition to the $2 billion, Amazon says it will provide $125 million in cash grants to "businesses, nonprofits and minority-led organizations."
According to Realtor.com, the median listing home price is nearly $650,000 in Arlington, Virginia, and $629,000 in the greater Seattle area. This is more than double the median home price in the United States, which sits at $300,000.
After announcing Arlington County as the home of Amazon's second headquarters, the average home price rose by 4% from 2018 to 2019. Experts expect these numbers continue to swell in the years to come.
At the company's Puget Sound Headquarters, Amazon already hosts a family shelter supporting over 200 women and children experiencing homelessness in Washington state.