on Sep 13, 2023
Amazon Housing Equity Fund partners with the National Housing Trust to help create new paths to Homeownership in Underserved Communities
HR&A Advisors is pleased to have advised Amazon on the structuring of a new initiative in partnership with National Housing Trust (NHT) to help individuals and families from underserved communities become homeowners. In 2021, Amazon established the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a program that, to date, has helped create or preserve over 14,000 units with guaranteed affordable rents across Washington state’s Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia region; and Nashville, Tennessee. With the new pilot announced today, Amazon will invest $40 million to help moderate-income residents in these communities to purchase homes as a path to help build generational wealth.
NHT, a nonprofit focused on making affordable homes available to help advance racial equity and reduce economic disparity, will use the funds to acquire and build affordable homes for sale, in partnership with a network of local organizations. Through this initiative, Amazon expects to provide access to home ownership for up to 800 individuals and families, the majority of them making below 80% of the area median income.
“Historically, those who are able to own homes are more likely to experience long-term economic stability, while those who can’t are more likely to struggle financially,” said Senthil Sankaran, Managing Principal, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “This new initiative will allow us to explore ways to help more moderate-income residents realize their dreams of homeownership and, in turn, help build wealth that can pass on to the next generation.”
Amazon’s new initiative will support a range of innovative models that promote and prioritize long-term affordability. For example, Amazon and NHT will invest in community land trusts, a model where the land itself will be owned and stewarded by nonprofits and community-based organizations, and where residents will own their physical homes. Removing the cost of the land from the total cost of the home allows the price of homes to stay affordable, stabilizing families in their communities, while combating gentrification.
Amazon’s new initiative will provide loans and grants to support nonprofits building, preserving, and stewarding affordable homeownership projects. Amazon is launching this pilot to support the following partners, and will add more organizations across its three hometown communities in the future. These partners include:
- Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties (Puget Sound Region, WA) – will provide flexible financing to support the construction of over 140 homes as well as a funding enabling 50 families to become homeowners in 2023.
- African Community Housing & Development (ACHD) (King County, WA) – will fund operating support as well as technical assistance to strengthen their housing development capacity.
- Homestead Community Land Trust (King County, WA) – will fund a program to develop land and housing with local community partners.
- Douglass Community Land Trust (Washington D.C.) – will use funds to grow their development capacity for their home equity programs.
- The Housing Fund (Nashville, TN) – will use grant funding to support the preservation of affordable housing through property-tax relief, a model that provides financial assistance to homeowners at risk of losing their homes due to an increase in property taxes.
Read more about this exciting initiative at the links below!
Photo: Yender Gonzalez