Amazon's New Seattle Headquarters Will Include a Homeless Shelter

May 13, 2017, 02:29
Amazon's New Seattle Headquarters Will Include a Homeless Shelter

Amazon has creative plans for its new campus in downtown Seattle besides enormous biospheres: It's collaborating with the nonprofit Mary's Place, which serves homeless women, children, and families, to build a permanent shelter within its headquarters.

CNN reported that Mary's Place will assist Amazon in creating 65 rooms with the capacity to house more than 200 homeless people on a nightly basis.

The new Mary's Place shelter will include a family resource center similar to those at Mary's Place Family Centers in North Seattle and White Center, where more than 40 local nonprofits and teams of community and corporate volunteers join Mary's Place staff onsite to provide services and work with families to help them secure permanent housing and employment.

"We are lucky to count them as neighbours and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters - Amazon employees and Mary's Place residents will move in together in early 2020".

Families will likely be placed in another motel Amazon owns across the street before Mary's Place will be given a permanent space in the new building. "You come in and become a fabric of the neighbourhood you're in, and then you say goodbye". It will take up about half of an 8-story building being built on a block where Amazon is also constructing a 23-story office building.

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Schoettler said Amazon originally allowed the shelter to stay in the motel because of the severity of Seattle's homelessness crisis, which had prompted the city's mayor to declare a state of emergency in 2015. According to the NAEH president Nan Roman, this is the first time a private company has incorporated a shelter into their office space. Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) granted the shelter space in the vacant building and paid to upgrade it. "That's a hard thing for a lot of people to do".

"We finally got the keys to our own place", said Marty Hartman, executive director of the nonprofit, showing off a large, golden key that Amazon's head of real estate, John Schoettler, gave her - inside an Amazon shipping box - as a memento of the donation. "Keeping them as neighbours is nice".

Today, Amazon doubled down at a fundraising luncheon for Mary's Place, matching donations up to one million dollars.

Homelessness is a huge problem in Seattle, where tent cities have sprung up under the interstates.

More than 10,000 people are homeless in the Seattle area, with more than 4,000 of them living on the streets, the Seattle/King County coalition on homelessness estimated in a report a year ago.

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