Amazon announced a commitment of $75 million in below-market capital for developers to create 800 affordable homes in the Nashville area near WeGo high-capacity transit corridors. The investment is part of Amazon’s more than $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable homes through below-market loans to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies, and minority-led organizations. The transit commitment will help ensure that moderate- to low-income Nashvillians can afford housing within the urban core with easy access to employment, schools, healthcare, education, recreation, and other amenities.
“Nashville is one of Amazon’s newest communities, and we’re committed to supporting—and partnering closely with—our new neighbors,” said Michelle Gaskin Brown, Amazon’s Nashville Manager of Public Policy.
“Building on our $2.25 million donations to The Housing Fund last year to help moderate- to low-income Nashville families preserve homeownership amid tornado recovery, job loss, and the ongoing pandemic, we’re now turning our attention to the development of affordable housing with convenient access to transit. We believe everyone should have access to housing they can afford, and we look forward to working with the city of Nashville on even more innovative solutions to help local families achieve long-term stability.”
Transportation is central to the quality of life for families. According to a 2019 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household nationally spends 13% of their income on transportation costs—their second-highest expense after housing. This percentage increases for households making 80% of area median income—households which are disproportionally in communities of color. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a unique approach to preserving and creating affordable housing options so moderate- to low-income families can afford to live near and benefit from quality public transit. Transit-oriented development provides equitable economic opportunity, reduced traffic congestion and associated environmental benefits, reduced time commuting, and reduced expenses associated with car ownership.
“Nashville must be a city that works for everyone,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “And – in a city that works for everyone – everyone who works here should be able to live here. Nashville’s affordable housing needs are urgent, and Amazon’s commitment today will support our work to create and preserve more affordable homes for families.”
“By strategically placing affordable housing units along our frequent routes, we can ensure riders have equitable access to public transportation,” said WeGo CEO Steve Bland. “We are committed to advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion with our Better Bus plan and in our outreach to the community.”
Amazon will provide $75 million in below-market loans to developers to expedite housing development along high-capacity WeGo transit corridors. WeGo is the primary regional transit agency operating bus and paratransit service across Nashville, serving approximately 30,000 riders daily, including many middle- and lower-income riders. Amazon’s involvement in the development process in Nashville over the next five years will focus on affordable properties within a half-mile of transit stops and prioritize opportunities to invest in minority-led organizations and racially and economically diverse communities. Amazon is also making transit commitments in its headquarter regions of Arlington, Virginia, and Washington state’s Puget Sound region to develop 3,000 new affordable housing units across all three regions with proximity to public transit in urban centers.
In December 2020, Amazon donated $2.25 million to The Housing Fund nonprofit in Nashville to help moderate- to low-income households preserve homeownership and build financial stability. In January 2021, Amazon announced the Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable housing units in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia; and Nashville, Tennessee. Through below-market loans and grants to housing partners, traditional and non-traditional public agencies, and minority-led organizations, the Fund prioritizes the equitable and inclusive development of resource-rich communities with easy access to neighborhood services, amenities, and jobs. Please visit amazon.com/housingequity to read more about Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund or see here to apply for funding.