With enough space for 200 people
In response to criticisms of Amazon’s working conditions and effect on small businesses, the e-commerce giant plans to designate nearly 50,000 square feet of space in its new, Seattle-based headquarters to address the city’s homelessness problem. Amazon announced on Wednesday it’d be partnering with Mary’s Place, a local nonprofit focused on combatting homelessness, to build 65 rooms—enough space for more than 200 homeless people to sleep per night, CNN Money reports.
Image via Mary's Place
Seattle locals can expect the shelter, which will feature a resource center and job-hunting services much like the dozens of other nonprofits in the area, to open its doors in early 2020. This development could not have come soon enough, considering Washington state saw a 7.3 percent rise in homelessness last year alone.
In a statement, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said, “Mary's Place does incredible, life-saving work every day for women, children, and families experiencing homelessness in the Seattle community. We are lucky to count them as neighbors and thrilled to offer them a permanent home within our downtown Seattle headquarters.”
To be clear, this wouldn’t be the first time Amazon partnered with local nonprofits for the sake of reducing homelessness. In 2016, the company joined up with Mary’s Place to provide temporary housing to hundreds of homeless people in a nearby former Travelodge. According to a statement released Wednesday, those residents will continue to live in the former hotel while Amazon works on constructing the permanent shelter. And according to Mary’s Place, Amazon employees are encouraged to volunteer at the existing shelter. If you’d like to get involved, but don’t live anywhere near Seattle, check out the nonprofit’s online wish list where you can donate items to the shelter via—you guessed it—Amazon.