New Amazon Building In Seattle Will Include A Homeless Shelter

New Amazon Building In Seattle Will Include A Homeless Shelter

The newest Amazon headquarters won't just be the home of the best online shopping company - it will also be a shelter to 200 homeless women, children, and families.

"To have a permanent downtown Seattle location within Amazon is a game-changer for Mary's Place and the families we serve", Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary's Place, said in a press release. Hartman says it's a "huge gift", though the New York Times reports it comes at a time when Amazon, Seattle's largest private employer, is shouldering some of the blame for the city's rising housing costs, which gave the area the third-largest homeless population in the country in 2016. The motel was on a chunk of downtown property in Seattle where Amazon planned to eventually erect yet another set of sparkling buildings to meet its insatiable need for office space in this city, where it has come to embody both the region's economic boom and its struggles with affordability.

Amazon's head of real estate, John Schoettler, says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos loved the idea when Schoettler first suggested it in January. Amazon will pay all the utilities for the Mary's Place shelter.

While construction on the block that Mary's Place now occupies won't start until October, the nonprofit will start in late May or early June to move its operations to a neighboring former Days Inn, also owned by Amazon, where it will have an additional 26 rooms.

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This Amazon site, referred to as Block 21, will be home to a 23-story office building and a smaller eight-story structure that will house a Mary's Place shelter.

Amazon also posted the announcement on its news site. Earlier this year, Amazon announced plans to partner with FareStart-a culinary job training program that has helped homeless people get back on their feet and into a new career-on a program to create five new eateries in Amazon buildings and help people learn additional skills to earn a higher income.

In 2015, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency on homelessness. The shelter will have its own entrance and elevator service. By the close of 2016, Amazon had acquired a total of 8.5 million square feet across Seattle, and the company is expected to fill up to 12 million square feet by 2022.

Amazon employees are frequent visitors and volunteers at the existing shelter - bringing meals, organizing arts and crafts projects, throwing parties for the families, and more.

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