Attached to one of Amazon’s downtown Seattle office buildings, in the heart of the tech giant’s headquarters campus, a new homeless shelter built by the company is now open and servicing people in need.
The Mary’s Place Family Center in The Regrade is an 8-floor, 63,000-square-foot facility with the capacity to serve 200 people per night and more than 1,000 family members per year. Mary’s Place, the non-profit that operates several shelters, and Amazon said that the shelter, which began accepting families in March, has been a critical option for those experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This new shelter, opening when it did, has been our saving grace,” Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place, said in a news release. “It was our neighbors at Amazon who recognized what we needed before we ever realized it, and this space ensures we don’t have to return families to homelessness during this unprecedented and trying time.”
The shelter is the largest in Washington state and increases Mary’s Place’s overall shelter capacity in King County by 40 percent.
The design, with touches clearly inspired by their tech neighbors’ office spaces, includes a number of elements to aid in staying safe during the health crisis. Private rooms enable social distancing, surfaces allow for deep cleaning, and there are dedicated onsite health services. There is a large dining room, industrial kitchen, children’s play spaces, work spaces, bathrooms and laundry facilities.
The shelter is separated from Amazon’s offices with its own private entrances and acoustical isolation, the company said.
“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 2017 when the shelter plans were announced. “We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters.”
Amazon has previously donated space for restaurants operated by FareStart, a job-training non-profit. Amazon estimates the collective value of its contributions to Mary’s Place and FareStart — including annual rent — to be more than $130 million. And Bezos launched a $2 billion philanthropic initiative in 2018, with half of the funds earmarked for non-profits that help homeless families.
Microsoft is also doing its part on the issue, committing $750 million to a fund to support affordable housing development in the Seattle region.
Here are more photos of Mary’s Place Family Center in The Regrade:
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