Amazon will spend $2 billion to attempt to repair reasonably priced housing crises in three main employment hubs
Amazon has pledged to spend greater than $2 billion over the subsequent 5 years to construct tens of 1000’s of reasonably priced housing models in three of the e-commerce big’s main employment hubs, underscoring the continuing housing crises affecting elements of the US the place giant, high-paying tech employers reside. Amazon’s pledge, introduced on Wednesday, follows comparable commitments from Apple, Fb, and Google, all of which beforehand promised between $1 billion and $2.5 billion every to deal with comparable points plaguing the San Francisco Bay Space.
The elements of the US Amazon plans to put money into embrace Washington state’s Puget Sound area that encompasses Seattle, in addition to Arlington, Virginia and Nashville, Tennessee the place Amazon has opened fast-growing workplaces. The corporate employs greater than 75,000 individuals within the Puget Sound area alone due to its headquarters within the state, and it has round 1,000 staff every in Virginia and Tennessee with plans to broaden these workforces to greater than 5,000 staff in every sector. (These numbers don’t embrace Amazon’s a lot bigger warehouse, seasonal, and contract workforce that push its employment figures over 1 million individuals as of October of final 12 months.)
Amazon’s announcement might as soon as have included deliberate funding for New York Metropolis, after lawmakers lower a take care of the corporate in early 2019 to convey jobs to Lengthy Island Metropolis, Queens as a part of a extremely publicized competitors of kinds the corporate held to draw bids from municipalities across the nation. However fierce backlash from native residents and criticism from politicians, together with US Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), led Amazon to scrap its controversial NYC plans and as an alternative give attention to expansions of its Arlington and Nashville workplaces.
“Amazon has a long-standing dedication to serving to individuals in want, together with the Mary’s Place household shelter we constructed inside our Puget Sound headquarters. The shelter now helps over 200 girls and youngsters experiencing homelessness each night time,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated in an announcement. “This new $2 billion Housing Fairness Fund will create or protect 20,000 reasonably priced properties in all three of our headquarters areas—Arlington, Puget Sound, and Nashville. It’ll additionally assist native households obtain long-term stability whereas constructing robust, inclusive communities.”
Amazon is spending its cash largely within the type of low-cost loans, beginning with almost $382 million to the Washington Housing Conservancy to “protect and create as much as 1,300 reasonably priced properties on the Crystal Home property in Arlington” and $185.5 million to King County Housing Authority for an extra 1,000 reasonably priced properties within the state of Washington. Amazon plans to announce further investments in each areas, in addition to Nashville, within the coming months and years. The pledge additionally contains $125 million in money grants to small companies, nonprofits, and minority-led organizations, with the aim of serving to them “construct a extra inclusive resolution to the reasonably priced housing disaster.”
The unstated actuality of those giant housing pledges is that tech firms typically play a serious position in gentrification and displacement of native communities. That’s typically by means of a fancy interaction of things associated to disproportionately excessive wages and unmatched advantages that permit staff to dwell in and round metropolis facilities regardless of generally working in additional rural or suburban settings, the place housing is cheaper and in much less demand. And as a part of its long-term technique to assist entice and retain expertise, an organization like Amazon has an incentive to make the city facilities and areas it turns into main employment hubs extra reasonably priced locations to dwell.
One main aim is to keep away from driving away staff who can’t afford to dwell someplace like Seattle or, within the case of firms like Fb and Google, in San Francisco or Silicon Valley. One other aim is to assist alleviate the stress from politicians and activists who typically criticize tech firms and their workforces for doing little to provide again to the communities inside which they construct their firms.
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