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Amazon has announced they will invest more than $120 million to build over 1,000 affordable-housing units in Seattle and Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday the tech giant announced they will work with Sound Transit in Washington state and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority in D.C to build a total of 1,060 homes near four public transit sites.   

Amazon is also building a new corporate hub nearby in Arlington, Virginia and expanding operations in Bellevue, near the company’s Seattle headquarters.

The news also comes after Amazon announced they will relocate all 1,800 workers from the company’s downtown Seattle office due to spiraling public safety in the area, which continues to be plagued by rising crime and homelessness.

A rendering of Amazon-funded affordable housing at the New Carrollton Metro station in Maryland

A rendering of Amazon-funded affordable housing at the New Carrollton Metro station in Maryland

A rendering of Amazon-funded affordable housing at the New Carrollton Metro station in Maryland 

The two Washington state sites are in SeaTac and Bellevue, while the Maryland sites are in New Carrollton and College Park (Angle Lake Station in SeaTac pictured)

The two Washington state sites are in SeaTac and Bellevue, while the Maryland sites are in New Carrollton and College Park (Angle Lake Station in SeaTac pictured)

The two Washington state sites are in SeaTac and Bellevue, while the Maryland sites are in New Carrollton and College Park (Angle Lake Station in SeaTac pictured) 

Amazon’s two Washington state sites are in SeaTac and Bellevue, while the Maryland sites are in New Carrollton and College Park. 

The move to invest $124 million in housing is the company’s attempt at addressing the affordable housing crisis critics say the booming tech industry has exacerbated. 

‘We know that our investment in these areas brings many economic opportunities for residents in the region, but we also acknowledge that this growth needs to benefit everyone in the community,’ Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, said in a statement.

That funding comes from a commitment Amazon made in January 2021 to launch its Housing Equity Fund, a $2 billion initiative to preserve and create 20,000 affordable homes. 

Microsoft has also said it will spend at least $750 million toward affordable housing in the Seattle area, following years of complaints that the area’s technology boom worsened an already flagging affordable housing market as both salaries and housing prices skyrocketed. 

Amazon is currently building a new corporate hub in Arlington, Virginia and expanding operations in Bellevue, near the company's Seattle headquarters

Amazon is currently building a new corporate hub in Arlington, Virginia and expanding operations in Bellevue, near the company's Seattle headquarters

Amazon is currently building a new corporate hub in Arlington, Virginia and expanding operations in Bellevue, near the company’s Seattle headquarters

People walk along East Pine Street during ongoing Black Lives Matter events in the 'Capitol Hill Organized Protest' (CHOP) area on June 14, 2020 in Seattle

People walk along East Pine Street during ongoing Black Lives Matter events in the 'Capitol Hill Organized Protest' (CHOP) area on June 14, 2020 in Seattle

People walk along East Pine Street during ongoing Black Lives Matter events in the ‘Capitol Hill Organized Protest’ (CHOP) area on June 14, 2020 in Seattle

Seattle Police Department released its 2021 year-end crime report, which showed a 20 percent surge in violent crime to the highest levels in 14 years. Aggravated assaults rose 24 percent in 2021 from 2020, and robberies 18 percent

Citing an increase in violent crime in the downtown Seattle area, Amazon made the announcement Friday that it would temporarily relocate its workers from their downtown office at Third Avenue and Pine Street.

‘Given recent incidents near Third and Pine, we’re providing employees currently at that location with alternative office space elsewhere,’ an Amazon spokesman told DailyMail.com in a statement. ‘We are hopeful that conditions will improve and that we will be able to bring employees back to this location when it is safe to do so.’

Amazon, which is headquartered in Seattle and has multiple offices there, employs a total of 1.1 million people in the U.S, and 75,000 in Seattle. The 1,800 employees at the downtown location are being given the ‘choice of an alternate work location because of the safety concerns.’

The latest spike in crime comes just months after the Seattle City Council approved a 2022 budget that cut police department spending by more than $7 million – bringing the total to $35.6 million over the past three years – and drawing criticism from residents who urged the city spend more on public safety.

Most recently, there has been a rash of violent crimes, specifically in the area of Third Avenue and Pine Street, that is pushing people away from the downtown Seattle area. 

On February 27, a man was shot and killed at Third Avenue and Pine Street. A few days later, on Tuesday, police responded to Third Avenue and Union Street for a stabbing which led them to pursue a separate incident involving a carjacking at Third Avenue and Pine Street.

The same day, homeless career criminal Alexander Jay, 40, was allegedly caught on video repeatedly throwing the victim down the stairs at a Chinatown-International District light rail station in an unprovoked attack.

He was taken into custody and charged with second-degree assault, and as of Monday, remained jailed on $150,000 bail.

But the final straw for many businesses to move their employees from the area or close their doors was the fatal shooting of a 15-year-old Michael Delbianco on March 2 in the 1500 block of Third Avenue, which is near where Amazon’s office building is located.

In its 2021 year-end report, Seattle Police said that violent crime in the city has increased by 20 percent compared to 2020- which is for the first time in 14 years.

According to SPD, shootings and shots fired calls increased 40 percent (+175) from 2020 to 2021, violent crime increased 20 percent and homeless-related shootings increased 122 percent.

Some reasons for homelessness Seattle have been attributed to the cost of living in the city having significantly risen in the past decade due to gentrification, lack of publicly owned affordable housing, and the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to the Department of Community and Human Services, 40, 800 people in King County experienced homelessness at some point in 2020. That number was 45,300 people for 2019.

Source: Daily Mail

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