Amazon announces housing affordability pilot program with National Housing Trust

Retail giant Amazon announced on Wednesday the launch of a new pilot program designed to assist moderate-income families in three different U.S. communities with the purchase of up to 800 homes, in partnership with the National Housing Trust (NHT).

The initiative will include $40 million to assist residents in the Puget Sound, Washington, Arlington, Virginia, and Nashville, Tennessee communities, the company said. Amazon says the investment will “help moderate-income residents in these communities to purchase homes as a path to help build generational wealth.”

The nonprofit NHT will use the funds from Amazon’s program to acquire and build affordable homes for sale in partnership with a network of local organizations in across the three communities.

These include Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King & Kittitas Counties serving the Puget Sound region; the African Community Housing & Development (ACHD) and Homestead Community Land Trust both serving King County, Wash., the Douglass Community Land Trust in Washington, D.C. and The Housing Fund serving Nashville.

Additional partnerships through this program are possible in the future, the company said.

Amazon cites data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) attributing affordability challenges to the “combination of rising interest rates and increasing home prices” in a majority of U.S. metropolitan areas.

“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,” the company said in its announcement. “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.”

Last year, Amazon made a housing investment of $10.6 million into the Nashville area to build and renovate 130 affordable homes, bringing its then-total investment into that community to roughly $100 million.