Amazon to share new building with homeless shelter in Seattle

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In 2016, the company joined up with Mary's Place to provide temporary housing to hundreds of homeless people in a nearby former Travelodge.

"Mary's Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community", Bezos said in a press release.

Amazon will work with Mary's Place to temporarily move the families to another former hotel across the street as it builds the new, permanent home.

Amazon will spend millions of dollars designing and constructing a homeless shelter in one of its new office buildings in downtown Seattle. That hotel will be demolished, according to Business Insider, in order to make way for two new Amazon buildings, one of which includes the new homeless shelter.

Amazon broke the news to Hartman, the Mary's Place executive, last Thursday.

"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".

At the same time - by sheltering those left out of Seattle's boom right at the center of Amazon's $4 billion urban campus, teeming with tech gentry- the new high-rise facility for Mary's Place will also highlight the yawning income-equality gap.

'When Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a civil state of emergency on homelessness we wanted to help out in a time of great need'. 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's gift is prompting Mary's Place to boost its staff: now it employs about 160 across various shelters, including 66 full-time staff, and that is poised to double next year, Hartman said. Amazon had previously given residence to Mary's Place into an old motel building they owned, but now will share this office space and pay all the utilities for the building. That's why Amazon's latest announcement should be seen as a breath of fresh air.

The new buildings and shelter will open in early 2020.

The idea also addresses a critical issue for the city - homelessness - that some say is aggravated by the breakneck growth spurred in large part by Amazon's own expansion. Amazon employees have had a lot of interaction with the families at the shelter over the past year, taking them meals, throwing parties for the families and leading arts and crafts projects.