Amazon Launches Accelerator Program to Grow Opportunities for Real Estate Developers of Color and Increase Affordable Housing
Today Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) announced it is committing more than $21 million to pilot a professional training, mentorship, and capital funding program to help promote real estate developers of color. This two-year, part-time professional development program, which is free for participants, aims to teach real estate developers of color how to advance their careers. It also aims to lower the barriers these developers can face when bidding for affordable housing developments. The goal of the program is to increase the number of professional real estate developers of color who are focused on affordable housing and inclusive community building. This initiative is part of the $2 billion Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a commitment to create and preserve 20,000 affordable homes for individuals and families earning moderate to low incomes in Washington state’s Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia region; and Nashville, Tennessee.
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Amazon Housing Equity Fund pilots new program to grow opportunities for real estate developers of color and increase affordable housing (Photo: Business Wire)
“With this accelerator program, we are laser focused on lifting up emerging real estate developers of color. We want to foster their professional growth through education and training, as well as improve their access to capital, which can be elusive to developers of color,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “If we are going to bring about lasting, holistic, and meaningful change to how affordable housing is developed, developers of color need to be a part of the solution.”
Not only are developers of color underrepresented in the real estate industry, but they also lack access to the capital and resources necessary to advance much-needed affordable housing projects to help their communities. According to a 2019 report from the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization for real estate and land use experts, 5% of its U.S. members are Black and 82% are white, though Blacks represent more than 13% of the U.S. population. This disparity translates into a lack of diversity at the project development level that can subsequently exclude developers of color from working on meaningful and lucrative housing deals as cities expand.
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