每日跟讀#553: Part Office Building , Part Homeless Shelter
A year ago, when Amazon let a homeless shelter for families move into a former motel it owned, it was viewed as a nice but fleeting gesture.
The motel was on a chunk of downtown property where Amazon planned to eventually erect yet another set of sparkling buildings to meet its insatiable need for office space in this city. The hotel would be torn down and the shelter kicked out when that time came.
Instead, Amazon has decided to let the shelter stay. In an unusual arrangement, the company has agreed to give the shelter, Mary’s Place, a permanent home inside one of the new office buildings for which it will break ground in the fall.
Amazon will give roughly half of the six-story building to the shelter, providing it with 47,000 square feet of space with private rooms that can hold 65 families, or about 220 people and their pets. The facility, expected to open in early 2020, will have its own entrance and elevators.
“I see it as this huge gift because everywhere we go, we end up leaving,” said Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary’s Place, which runs seven transitional shelters around the Seattle area meant to house families until they can find permanent homes. “You come in and become a fabric of the neighborhood you’re in, and then you say goodbye. That’s a hard thing for a lot of people to do.”
In an interview at the current Mary’s Place site owned by Amazon, which was bustling with families returning to the shelter for the evening, John Schoettler, Amazon’s vice president for global real estate and facilities, said the company would spend “tens of millions of dollars” on the design and construction of the shelter’s portion of the building. Amazon will pay the utilities for Mary’s Place, which will occupy the space rent free, although the organization will continue to pay its own staff.
Schoettler said Amazon originally allowed the shelter to stay in the motel because of the severity of Seattle’s homelessness crisis, which had prompted the city’s mayor to declare a state of emergency in 2015. Schoettler said Amazon was impressed by Mary’s Place, and he described its plan to give the shelter a permanent home as an investment in the neighborhood.
In San Francisco, Google, Salesforce.com and others have funded a campaign to find permanent housing for homeless people. But Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, D.C., said she was unaware of any other private corporation integrating a homeless shelter into its building.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/314016/web/