Amazon is the largest employer in Seattle, Washington, a city with a dominating homelessness problem. The online retailer saw a window of opportunity to give back to the community that it calls home by opening up a shelter in an empty hotel.
Seattle’s mayor Ed Murray said that his town is in a state of emergency in regards to the homeless crisis.
During an address last year, he said, “The City is prepared to do more as the number of people in crisis continues to rise, but our federal and state partners must also do more. Cities cannot do this alone. Addressing homelessness must be a national priority with a federal response.”
Amazon used its resources to revitalize a vacant Travelodge that is scheduled for demolition in 2017.
Up to 200 people are expected to live in the shelter beginning next week. They can reside in one of the fully furnished rooms from 5 pm to 8 am on weekdays and 24 hours on weekends, so long as they’re working to find permanent housing and employment.
In addition to the amenities of the rooms, the shelter provides free breakfasts and dinners, and residents who contribute three hours of work per week can earn credit in the facility’s store.
It’s the perfect option for a space that would have remained vacant. Amazon planned to purchase the land already for its campus expansion in 2018.
When Amazon moves its campus onto the space, the families living in the shelter will have to move on. According to Mary’s Place, homeless families are only in need of temporary housing while they recover from their current setback. The organization also said that it hopes to get the residents in permanent homes within the year.
The public can make donations to the shelter through Amazon’s Wish List site.
Photo Credit: Twitter (@suzette_franck )