Amazon Surprises Homeless Shelter Executive Director With A New Space

When Amazon opens its new facility, they will be joined by a homeless shelter.

When Amazon moves into a new building in early 2020, the Seattle-based company will donate more than 47,000 square feet of their campus to the Mary's Place homeless shelter.  

The result means that within Amazon's new high-tech facility, about half of the six story building will be dedicated to 65 families that belong to the Mary's Place homeless shelter. Mary's Place had previously been taking up space in a Travelodge hotel that Amazon owned, but that building was torn down for construction.

"To have a permanent downtown Seattle location within Amazon is a game-changer for Mary's Place and the families we serve," Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary's Place, said in a press release. "We've loved being Amazon's neighbor, and now the opportunity to move into their headquarters permanently is truly a dream come true. This unique, first-of-its-kind shelter will remind families that they matter and that their community wants to help them succeed."



In Seattle, homelessness is a huge issue, so the helping hand will surely be met with joy. A U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report found 10,730 homeless people in Seattle and King County in 2016, contributing to Washington state's second-highest total increase in homeless people between 2015 and 2016. 

Ironically, Amazon and companies like it have shouldered their share of blame for this; by hiring thousands of employees with on high paying salaries, the company contributes to rising housing costs in the area. Amazon's even been criticized for being less charitable then some of its tech neighbors in the area. In 2012 The Seattle Times released a report which found that "Microsoft made a corporate donation of $4 million. Boeing gave $3.1 million. Nordstrom, nearly $320,000. And Amazon.com? Zero."

But now, it appears Amazon is stepping up for their neighbors in a big way. More than 200 homeless women, children, and families will be able to live in the space Amazon carves out. During a surprise presentation to Hartman, the Executive Director broke down in tears.

"Everything that we've worked for in the last 20 years was realized today," she said. 

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