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Amazon to Donate $3 Million for Affordable Housing Near HQ2

(Updated at 11:35 a.m.) Amazon is making a $3 million donation for affordable housing and support services in the region, with a focus on Arlington.

The gift is being handled by the Arlington Community Foundation, which announced the commitment this morning.

“The gift will create a fund to support programs that maintain and create housing options for low-income individuals and families,” the foundation said.

In a press release, the foundation notes that Arlington has lost nearly 90 percent of its market rate affordable housing over the past two decades. Many expect real estate prices to continue to rise and price out lower-income individuals and families, particularly with Amazon bringing tens of thousands of mostly high-paying jobs to its new HQ2 in Arlington over the next 10 years or so.

Amazon also announced today that it would match employee donations to select housing- and homelessness-related nonprofits in and around Arlington, including AHC Inc., the Arlington Partnership for Affordable HousingA-SPANCarpenter’s Shelter, Wesley Housing Development Corporation and Doorways.

“Amazon will match the donation one-for-one, up to $5 million, through September 30,” the company said. Amazon is also making donations and employee matches in the Seattle area, home to its first headquarters.

More from the Arlington Community Foundation press release, after the jump.

Today, the Arlington Community Foundation announced a $3 million gift from Amazon to improve access to affordable housing and support services in the region. The gift will create a fund to support programs that maintain and create housing options for low-income individuals and families. Arlington, the location of Amazon’s second headquarters, will be a significant beneficiary of this fund’s investments.

More than 9,000 households in Arlington are living on an annual income of $35,000 or less, according to an affordable housing needs analysis conducted by Arlington County. The County has lost nearly 90% of its market affordable housing over the past 20 years. It also has fewer than 25 apartments dedicated for the lowest-income individuals and families who can live independently.

“Over the last decade, housing prices in our region have steadily increased leading to fewer housing options for all income levels and placing a disproportionate burden on our community’s lowest income residents,” said Jennifer Owens, president & CEO of the Arlington Community Foundation. “Amazon’s generous investment comes at a critical time for our community and will help us respond in a nimble way to support those who need it most.”

“We made this donation to the Arlington Community Foundation because of their work and progress on housing stability and helping families improve their quality of life,” said Jay Carney, SVP, Global Corporate Affairs at Amazon. “We believe this gift can offer additional housing and support services for our neighbors in need.”

“This investment bolsters the tireless efforts of so many in our community who are focused on addressing the long-standing, critical issue of housing affordability,” said County Board Chair Christian Dorsey. “We are pleased to see Amazon’s willingness to work together with other businesses and local community-based organizations to improve outcomes for our residents.”

Earlier this year, the Arlington Community Foundation was named the lead local partner in a national initiative called the Shared Prosperity Partnership. The Partnership – a collaboration among the Kresge Foundation, Urban Institute, Brookings Institution, and Living Cities – aims to strengthen and accelerate existing local efforts to generate inclusive growth for people of all races, ethnicities, and incomes. Inclusive growth in Arlington requires that its residents come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and that opportunity for prosperity exists for all people. Amazon’s gift helps the Arlington Shared Prosperity Initiative, which brings together the private and nonprofit sectors to identify and implement solutions to issues like housing, helping low-income Arlingtonians remain in the community.

“In cities across the country, we see that advancing shared prosperity requires cross-sector partnerships,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of the Kresge Foundation, a national private foundation committed to expanding opportunity in cites. “Community foundations, like the Arlington Community Foundation, are uniquely positioned to convene purposeful conversations that elevate pressing community needs, and to support the implementation of locally-driven solutions. We hope this is just the beginning of measurable progress on issues of economic inequity in Arlington.”

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