ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM)– Amazon is investing $2 billion to build affordable housing in three U.S Cities, one being Arlington.
The funds will go toward affordable housing over the next 5 years in Seattle, Nashville, and Arlington, Virginia where Amazon has major operations. Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing CEO said this is a big win for the city.
Nina Janopaul, President and CEO of APAH said, “This is for the people who live here today, and for the people who are coming in for new jobs.”
The first investment will go toward 1,300 affordable homes in the Crystal House property near HQ2, Amazon’s new Virginia headquarters.
“Having access to jobs, to transit, to good schools is so important for opportunities for our residents, and for the next generation we want our families to thrive and so does amazon” said Janopaul.
In the past Amazon has been criticized for gentrifying areas where it has opened large operations, driving up the cost of housing. One Arlington resident is not thrilled with the announcement.
Tim Dempsey, Our Revolution Arlington Member said, “I’m not happy with the way they’re doing it. If the outcome is some people are not displaced that’s a good thing obviously, I’m not going to begrudge the people who are able to benefit from the way this is being done but it’s not ideal, and I don’t agree with the way they’re doing it.”
Revolution Arlington members such as Dempsey believe that Amazon should waive the resources it doesn’t need and direct funds to poor and working-class communities.
“It will be better to have something that’s community-owned and community governed in doing this type of acquisition and affordable housing work,” said Dempsey.
According to Amazon, the fund will also provide an additional $125 million in grants to businesses, nonprofit, and minority-led organizations to help build a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis.
Officials say new construction takes time with zoning plans and permits. However, residents can expect to see construction happening in the next two to three years.
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