DC, Amazon announce new financing for affordable housing

As Amazon continues to build its HQ2 in Virginia, it’s also touting major growth in the financing of affordable housing projects.

The latest announcement came across the street from the Congress Heights Metro Station in Southeast D.C., where about 180 affordable units are either being preserved or created by the National Housing Trust, courtesy of funding from Amazon.

Priya Jayachandran, the CEO of the trust, said the apartments in Southeast would be 100% affordable buildings with ground-floor retail.

In all, the newest funding announcement is worth $147 million and covers projects throughout the city, as well as parts of Maryland and Virginia.

The D.C. projects include preservation of 230 affordable units in the Carver-Langston neighborhood, in Northeast D.C.; more than 100 affordable units near the Takoma Metro station, and the conversion of more than 165 apartment homes into affordable homes in Mount Pleasant in Northwest.

“Amazon believes that the private sector has a role to play in advancing affordable housing in our hometown communities,” said Catherine Buell of Amazon’s Housing Equity Fund. She said, in all, Amazon is helping to finance $992 million worth of projects.

“Approximately 50% of the units that we’re announcing today will be for low-income families,” defined as 50% of the Average Median Income and below, Buell said.

“We continue to make much-needed investment in Ward 8 that quite frankly has lacked for decades,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. “We’ll be attracting people from very low incomes to middle-class workforce incomes.”

She said that also means more amenities will be coming with those new developments. On the other side of the Metro station is the St. Elizabeths campus, which, as the mayor was quick to point out, continues its transformation.

In April, city officials cut the ribbon on new housing on the campus, including about two dozen affordable units.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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