The new 47,000 square-foot shelter, run by Mary’s Place and opening in early 2020, will house more than 200 people each night. It will take up about half of an 8-story building being built on a block where Amazon is also constructing a 23-story office building. Currently, the Amazon-owned block houses a former Travelodge motel that the company turned into a temporary shelter facility for Mary’s Place last year.
“Mary’s Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters.”
As CNN points out, this isn’t the first time Amazon has worked with Mary’s Place.
Last year, the tech giant partnered with the nonprofit to temporarily house 200 homeless people in one of its empty buildings on its Seattle campus. (Amazon said Wednesday it will work with Mary’s Place to move those families to a former hotel across the street, as the company is converting that space to offices.)
And since March 2016, Amazon customers have been able to order items from the Mary’s Place’s wishlist on the site, such as diapers and socks. “Your help filling our shelves will make a huge difference in the lives of moms, dads, and kids who are experiencing homelessness,” Amazon said at the time of the program’s launch.
In 2015, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency on homelessness.