USA: Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund has committed to provide below-market financing to support the transit-oriented development of affordable housing in Seattle and Washington DC, with the aim of ensuring that moderate to low-income families can afford to live in areas with easy access to employment, schools, healthcare and education.
‘Housing and transit are the first and second largest expenses for most households in America, and Amazon’s funding will expedite affordable housing near transit reducing costs for both, while supporting families with long-term financial stability’, said Catherine Buell, Head of Community Development at Amazon.
The company is to provide $100m of financing to accelerate the creation of up to 1 200 affordable housing units on land belonging to Seattle’s Sound Transit. ‘Increasingly, we are facing an affordable housing crisis across the entire Puget Sound region, and Sound Transit is expanding rail service into communities that are becoming less and less affordable for working families’, said Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff. ‘We have a forward-leaning policy of partnering with developers to facilitate affordable housing near our stations, but obtaining the necessary funding to build those units has always been a challenge.’
Amazon has also committed $125m in below-market capital to expedite the development of more than 1 000 affordable housing units at Washington metro stations over the next five years. The capital will be available only to developers who have joint development agreements with the metro operator.
‘This represents another return on the region’s extraordinary investment in mass transit, as the partnership with Amazon will accelerate transit-oriented development, grow ridership, and keep our region competitive with other global economic centres’, said WMATA board Chair Paul Smedberg.