NEW YORK (Dec. 16, 2021) – Real estate developers of color in Nashville, Tennessee, Northern Virginia and Washington state’s Puget Sound region are eligible for organizational capacity building and project-related grants from Enterprise Community Partners (Enterprise) through a $5 million grant from The Amazon Housing Equity Fund. The funds will help developers of color scale their operations and seed their pipeline of affordable housing projects.
“Talented developers of color face a massive capital gap from decades of systemic racism that makes it harder to both grow their businesses and serve their communities. We are excited to work with Amazon to close that gap,” said Priscilla Almodovar, president and chief executive officer, Enterprise. “The partnership is perfectly aligned with Enterprise’s $3.5 billion ‘Equitable Path Forward’ initiative to advance racial equity in the real estate industry.”
As part of Equitable Path Forward, Enterprise is working to reshape the affordable housing industry to better reflect the communities it serves. Just 2% of development companies are Black-led, and minority-led real estate firms control only 1.5% of real estate assets under management. Housing providers of color lack access to sufficient capital to grow their operations or real estate portfolios when equity and debt are out of reach. Enterprise is channeling debt, grants, equity and other opportunities to developers of color to create lasting change.
The flexible capital funded through the Amazon grant will enable organizations to build needed capacity to scale their real estate operations, including growing and training staff, board of director training and enhancing operations like accounting and technology. Specific project support in the form of predevelopment grants can be provided for feasibility analysis, legal and consultant fees, and other costs typically associated with developing affordable housing.
The $5 million grant comes from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, a more than $2 billion fund dedicated to creating and preserving 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—three communities where Amazon has a large and growing presence.
“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,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund.