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Amazon is investing $40 million to help moderate-income individuals and families become homeowners.

For this new initiative, the internet giant is teaming with the National Housing Trust (NHT), which will use Amazon’s money to work with a network of local organizations that will acquire and build affordable homes for sale. The team expects to provide access to homeownership for up to 800 households, the majority of them making less than 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, 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.”

Established in 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has focused on rental properties, and this pilot is the Fund’s first step into homeownership—seeking to make it more affordable for historically underserved residents.

Officials say the project will support a range of innovative models that promote and prioritize long-term affordability. For example, Amazon and NHT plan to 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.

“As a leader in affordable homeownership lending, we are excited to partner with the Amazon Housing Equity Fund on this new initiative to make homeownership more affordable and accessible. This partnership is unique because Amazon’s support will enable us to create new, innovative pathways to ownership that will transform people’s lives,” said Priya Jayachandran, CEO of NHT. “Through this initiative, we will support historically underfunded models to produce homes with longer-term affordability and greater benefits to both the homeowner and the wider community.”

Several local partners have been identified to participate in the initiative, and more organizations will be added in the future across Amazon’s three hometown communities of Washington’s Puget Sound region, the Arlington, Virginia, area, and Nashville, Tennessee. The initial partners include:

  • Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties in Washington, which will provide flexible financing to support the construction of over 140 homes as well as funding enabling 50 families to become homeowners in 2023;
  • African Community Housing & Development in King County, Washington, which will fund operating support as well as technical assistance to strengthen their housing development capacity;
  • Homestead Community Land Trust in King County, which will fund a program to develop land and housing with local community partners;
  • Douglass Community Land Trust in Washington, D.C., which will use funds to grow their development capacity for their home equity programs; and
  • The Housing Fund in Nashville, which 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.

Since its launch in 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund has committed more than $1.7 billion to create or preserve more than 14,000 affordable homes for renters across the company’s hometown communities. The Fund focuses on moderate-income individuals and families, representing first responders, teachers, and service industry employees whose wages haven’t kept pace with escalating rents and housing costs.