Amazon Devotes New Seattle Headquarters Space to Shelter Homeless

Amazon Devotes New Seattle Headquarters Space to Shelter Homeless

Amazon Devotes New Seattle Headquarters Space to Shelter Homeless

Amazon is devoting half of its new, six-story headquarters in downtown Seattle to a permanent homeless shelter, providing it with a 47,000 sq. ft. of space - totally rent free. Construction on the two towers will start this fall, and they're set to open by 2020. If you'd like to get involved, but don't live anywhere near Seattle, check out the nonprofit's online wish list where you can donate items to the shelter via-you guessed it-Amazon.

And since March 2016, Amazon customers have been able to order items from the Mary's Place's wishlist on the site, such as diapers and socks.

Amazon said it will foot the utilities bill and allow the organization to inhabit the space rent-free.

In 2015, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency on homelessness.

"T$3 he company chose to surprise [Mary's Place executive director Marty] Hartman in a highly staged setting, surrounded by camera equipment and a microphone created to capture the emotional moment and then package it later as part of the press release".

But Mary's Place residents and Amazon's Schoettler downplay any perceived tensions, pointing to the current friendly coexistence between the 63-room shelter that has operated on 8th Avenue for a year and its tony neighbors. That makes the company's decision to build the shelter within its own headquarters "an unusual arrangement", as The New York Times described it. Schoettler told the NYTimes the Mary's Place move was "permanent", at least until "homelessness is solved".

In what is called Amazon's biggest philanthropic gesture yet, the tech giant is building a homeless shelter at its Seattle headquarters. New people arriving will go to the new shelter, Hartman said. Staffing costs are covered by other donations.

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.

"Individual rooms are an incredible gift to families to maintain their individual dignity", she said. After losing her apartment previous year she couldn't find a shelter for her family of eight, which includes her husband and six children. But at Mary's Place, where the family has been since December, they have space.

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