Around one year ago, Amazon acquired a new property in downtown Seattle which at the time, was still home to an old, disused motel. They garnered massive praise at the time when they decided that, rather than letting the space go to waste in the time up until they began construction of their new offices on the site, they would instead allow a homeless shelter run by non-profit organisation Mary’s Place to occupy the space, providing temporary housing for some of the city’s growing homeless population. The temporary arrangement was expected to end when ground was broken on Amazon’s construction project in autumn of this year.

As the shelter’s time on the site looked to be drawing to a close, Amazon surprised the business world with their recent announcement that their new headquarters will also include a permanent home for the shelter. Mary’s Place will be given 47,000sq ft of space in which to house 65 families (approx. 200 individuals) in private rooms. Amazon is offering the space completely rent-free, and will even pay all utilities for the shelter. The organisation will continue to pay their own staff, but Amazon’s contributions will certainly lighten the load.

The new shelter will also include a family resource center in which more than 40 local non-profits work alongside Mary’s Place staff to provide services and assistance in finding permanent housing and employment for residents. Amazon’s VP for global real estate and facilities, John Schoettler, claims that Amazon will spend “tens of millions of dollars” on the design and construction of the new shelter.

Amazon’s founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said of the newly-announced arrangement, “Mary’s Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community. 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.”

Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary’s Place, also commented:

“I see it as this huge gift because everywhere we go, we end up leaving. You come in and become a fabric of the neighbourhood you’re in, and then you say goodbye. That’s a hard thing for a lot of people to do.

“To have a permanent downtown Seattle location within Amazon is a game-changer for Mary’s Place and the families we serve. We’ve loved being Amazon’s neighbour, and now the opportunity to move into their headquarters permanently is truly a dream come true.”

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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