Amazon and Other Tech Giants Make Billion-Dollar Commitments to Affordable Housing

Some of the world's biggest companies are investing in affordable housing, hoping to stymie the growing crisis their growth has contributed to.

January 19, 2021, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Seattle, Washington

Kiewic / Flickr

Amazon's newly launched Housing Equity Fund promises to build and preserve more than 20,000 housing units near the company's three U.S. hubs with a $2 billion investment. The program includes below-market grants and loans to "public agencies, housing partners and minority-led groups," according to Cailin Crowe.

Amazon expects the workforce at these three locations to reach around 5,000 employees in the next few years and calls the housing initiative an effort to "be part of the solution" to the housing affordability crisis facing many of their employees and other residents in surrounding communities. "Tech giants like Amazon have made a number of affordable housing investments in recent years, a problem many experts have said such companies helped create," writes Crowe. Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook have all made billion-dollar commitments ($2.5 billion in Apple's case) to investing in affordable housing.

Experts like Sarah Rosen Wartell, president of the Urban Institute, laud the companies' efforts to support affordable housing, noting that the move also signals to local elected leaders that "investment in affordable housing is a critical, necessary step for a region's balanced, healthy economy." King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles expressed appreciation for the pledges, but acknowledged there's a long way to go. "This investment is a relative drop in the bucket, but Amazon’s loans and grants will provide much needed capital for expanding our supply of affordable housing now, when our communities need it the most."

Thursday, January 7, 2021 in Smart Cities Dive

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.