Online retailer Amazon has a deal for the homeless in Seattle, Washington — a temporary shelter in a former motel the company just bought.
The former Travelodge is scheduled for demolition in 2017, but instead of letting the perfectly good building remain vacant until then, Amazon has turned it over to local nonprofit Mary’s Place as a place to help families get back on their feet.
Company founder Jeff Bezos also donated one million dollars to the nonprofit to help with the project.
Each adult resident signs up to work three-hours a week in exchange for staying in the shelter. The 60 rooms can house up to 200 people and is nearly perfect for homeless families.
Each motel room has beds, its own bathroom and shower, and residents can use the building’s laundry room.
People are free to stay until next spring but are required to work on finding permanent housing, jobs, or education.
Mary’s Place provides free breakfast and dinners, and a play area and community room for the families staying there.
The nonprofit requires them to set and meet weekly goals and helps the residents fill out job or school enrollment applications, scheduling interviews and working toward permanent housing.
Anyone can make donations to the shelter through Amazon’s Wish List site –and those items are used at the shelter by the residents.
A spokesperson for Mary’s Place says 97% of homeless families only experience homelessness once in their lives — usually a financial bump they need help getting through.
Mary’s Place expects to have all the residents at the temporary shelter placed in permanent homes before the building is replaced by offices in about a year. Anyone remaining will be moved into one of the nonprofit’s other shelters in Seattle.
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