Below are some frequently asked questions regarding the NHT's pilot homeownership initiative with Amazon .
What is the NHT's homeownership initiative with Amazon?
The initiative is a pilot program that supports affordable homeownership initiatives. Amazon is committing $40 million to this pilot, and this investment of loan funds, project support, and operating support will help enable the preservation and development of approximately 800 homes over the next decade in three targeted geographies, Washington State’s Puget Sound region; the Arlington, Virginia region; and Nashville, Tennessee. This initiative is part of the $2 billion Amazon Housing Equity Fund, the company’s commitment to create and preserve 20,000 affordable homes for individuals in its hometown communities. It also represents the Fund’s first investment in support of affordable homeownership, broadening the company’s support to expand housing options for low-to-moderate income families.
What are National Housing Trust and Grounded Solutions Network’s roles?
National Housing Trust (NHT) is administering this initiative using Amazon’s capital to support the acquisition, construction, and funding of affordable homes for sale to low-to-moderate-income homeowners. NHT is a leading lender to shared-equity projects and has supported community land trusts for over 40 years. NHT is distributing funds to community land trusts and other mission-aligned homeownership developers that create and preserve homes for low- to middle-income households. NHT leads partner and project selection, working with each awardee to structure funding to best serve future residents.
Grounded Solutions Network (GSN) is partnering with NHT to shape the strategy for the grant program. GSN works nationally to connect local experts with the networks, knowledge, and support they need to further the advancement of shared equity housing. GSN uses its deep knowledge of lasting affordability housing models and its extensive network and skill set to provide technical assistance and capacity building tools to fund recipients.
How are regional partners being selected?
The pilot is focused on scaling and capitalizing housing developers who create shared equity housing and other forms of permanently affordable homeownership opportunities. Initial regional partners were selected through a combination of referrals and business development. Each organization has a track record of stewarding shared equity housing. The initiative continues to seek additional partners; organizations working on permanently affordable homeownership should reach out to NHT directly at email@example.com.
Is the initiative distributing money directly to prospective homeowners or working through partners?
The initiative does not provide direct funding to homeowners. NHT is identifying and funding organizations that are building affordable homes that will be made available to individual low- to moderate income homeowners in these communities.
What geographic regions will this initiative serve?
The initiative focuses on Amazon’s three hometown communities: Washington State’s Puget Sound region; Arlington, Virginia and the DC Capital region; and Nashville, Tennessee.
Will this initiative look the same across all three regions? How will it be the same or different?
The pilot will look different in each region based on what types of affordable for-sale housing is being built and preserved. NHT will follow local partners’ leads on what their region needs. Each region has committed grant financing and/or debt financing, with an opportunity for additional financing. Similarly, Grounded Solutions Network technical assistance support will be available based on needs identified in collaboration with each local partner, differing by region.
What is shared equity homeownership?
Shared equity homeownership is a self-sustaining model that takes a one-time subsidy or investment to make a home affordable for a lower-income family and then restricts the home’s sale price each time it is sold to keep it affordable for subsequent low-income families who purchase the home. The model balances wealth building for families who would otherwise be unable to afford homeownership with preserving the community’s investment.
What are Community Land Trusts?
The Community Land Trust (CLT) model dates back to 1969, when Black farmers and civil rights leaders in Georgia reclaimed land for collective ownership to provide housing and agricultural opportunities. CLTs are most commonly nonprofit organizations who manage shared equity housing portfolios alongside other community-focused programs and services. CLTs are increasingly popular as they offer an innovative solution to serve the unique housing needs of different populations.
CLTs supported by this initiative develop, preserve, and steward affordable homes by selling the physical structure of a home while maintaining ownership of the land that the homes sit on. By subsidizing the cost through land ownership, CLTs provide unique opportunities for low-to-moderate income households to become homeowners. Six in ten CLT homeowners typically move on to become market-rate homeowners, while other homeowners remain as community land trust members and enjoy the benefits of homeownership and CLT services. At the time of sale, the community land trust’s resale restrictions ensure that the home will be sold to a new low-to-moderate income household, ensuring affordable access for generations to come.
Is this program only available to first-time homeowners?
The initiative does not directly lend to individual homebuyers and each partner leads their own homebuyer selection processes with specific criteria. Eligibility depends on a household’s income, not their status as first-time homeowners. However, we do expect that many of beneficiary households will be first-time homebuyers.
If you have any additional questions, please contact us.