Amazon announced that the hotel it recently bought in downtown Seattle would be turned into a shelter for the homeless.
The company has partnered with nonprofit organization Mary’s Place and the Seattle Mayor’s office to run the shelter.
As reported by Business Insider, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos donated $1 million towards the cause. Another $1 million was received during the recent Give Big day.
Every night, there are as many as 1,100 families who either sleep in their vehicles or on the streets in the area. Executive Director Marty Hartman, expressing her excitement over the project, said, “When the opportunity for this hotel came up, they reached out and asked us if that would be something we’d want or if they could help with that and we were like, ‘Absolutely. Right?’ and then the money.”
As reported by MyNorthwest.com, Mary’s Place includes a wealth of facilities – including a kids’ center, storage room with wish list donations from Amazon, and a community center. The guests will be working at the shelter at least three hours a week and will earn points in return with which they will be able to purchase supplies from the shelter’s store. The painting and reparation of the building were done by Amazon employees.
“At the last count they found 4,505 unsheltered individuals, and around 400 of those are families with children,” Linda Mitchell, spokesperson for Mary’s Place, said, as reported by Daily Mail. “But it is generally understood that the number is lower than reality. A lot of families are in hiding because if you’re homeless with children, those children might be taken away if you come forward.”
Tangela Connor and her family are among those who have been given the opportunity to stay in the shelter. “We were living at a family member’s home at Madison Park and that didn’t really work out,” Connor said. She, her husband and three children soon became homeless. “I almost think that it was something that was supposed to happen,” she said.
“There’s something about Mary’s Place. It’s not just me being homeless and needing a place to stay, there is something bigger. Maybe I know my gift now, maybe I know what I’m supposed to do now. I don’t know.”