Amazon Provides a Permanent Home for the Homeless
Amazon is setting up a brand new housing arrangement for the homeless population in the heart of Seattle. And it’s not just for their public image, either – Amazon has actually been providing this space to a local homeless shelter to use for free since 2016. Now, the Seattle nonprofit called Mary’s place will have a permanent place to call home.
Mary’s place has been working to build temporary housing from vacant buildings in the Seattle area for years now. They’ve been occupying a building in the center of Amazon headquarters in Seattle. This building is set to be torn down along with a second building this year – but Mary’s place will continue to occupy the space. And thanks to Amazon, it’s now a permanent home for the organization.
This venture marks the “biggest philanthropic move in the company’s history” according to the Seattle Times. Amazon has intentionally remained neutral as far as giving back to the community in past years, but Seattle’s rampant homelessness problem sparked the retail giant to do something about it.
Many have attributed this rapid spike in homelessness to Amazon’s own massive expansion within the city of Seattle.
Amazon Fights Citywide Homelessness in Seattle
Not only has Amazon been providing free housing for the residents of Mary’s Place, but they’ve gone a step further by having employees volunteer to build an Amazon homeless shelter. This space will help by providing more rooms, and allowing the organization to add staff members. They’ve also offered a range of resources for residents regarding jobs, education and more. John Schoettler, Amazon’s head of real estate, stated that the arrangement with Mary’s Place will be “permanent – until homelessness is solved.”
This project will cost Amazon tens of millions of dollars and is set to be completed by 2020.
“Mary’s Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community,” said Jeff Bezos in a recent article. “We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters – Amazon employees and Mary’s Place residents will move in together in early 2020.” [Originally Published on Amazon.com]
The Future of Amazon’s Philanthropy
How often does Amazon plan to fund philanthropic projects like this? It’s not quite what the company is known for around the world, but recently, they’ve made donations to several similar organizations. A donation to the University of Washington’s science center earlier this year funded a permanent home on the college campus for another local nonprofit organization called FareStart.