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Amazon opened a permanent homeless shelter in its Seattle HQ, offering vulnerable families a place to stay during the pandemic — take a tour

Amazon opened a permanent homeless shelter in its Seattle HQ, offering vulnerable families a place to stay during the pandemic — take a tour
  • A homeless family shelter opened in Amazon's Seattle headquarters in March, as the coronavirus pandemic ramped up in the US.
  • Mary's Place Family Center has been a safe place for families from other shelters with conditions making them vulnerable to the coronavirus.
  • The shelter has programs for new moms and babies, families with medically fragile babies, the elderly, and others.

Amazon's Seattle headquarters is now home to a new homeless family shelter. Mary's Place Family Center opened its doors on the Amazon campus in March, just as the coronavirus pandemic was growing in the US.

This new permanent shelter has been planned since 2017. From 2016 to 2018, the shelter operated out of a vacant building on campus until this location was ready. The eight-floor shelter has 63,000-square-feet of usable space, increasing the center's previous capacity by 40%. Mary's Place can shelter up to 1,000 people a year, and 2,000 people each night, as described by Amazon VP of global real estate and facilities, John Schoettler.

Amazon has faced criticism over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. While millions file for unemployment, CEO Jeff Bezos increased his wealth by $24 billion. In April, over 30 workers at a warehouse outside of New York City tested positive for COVID-19. Despite the surge in orders, Amazon announced that it would end hazard pay raise for warehouse workers at the end of May, though many workers say it's too soon.

The original plans for the shelter have adapted as the coronavirus pandemic made shelter and isolation even more important.

Here's what it looks like.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The shelter is in a Seattle neighborhood with nearby access to public transportation, hospitals, and other community services.

The shelter is in a Seattle neighborhood with nearby access to public transportation, hospitals, and other community services.
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It has private entrances separate from Amazon offices.

It has private entrances separate from Amazon offices.
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Four of the eight floors are dedicated sleeping places.

Four of the eight floors are dedicated sleeping places.
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The shelter gives families private rooms that allow social distancing, with regular cleaning protocols.

The shelter gives families private rooms that allow social distancing, with regular cleaning protocols.
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The shelter is full of all the services residents might need — including a health clinic, offices, and computer labs for housing and job searches.

The shelter is full of all the services residents might need  — including a health clinic, offices, and computer labs for housing and job searches.
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On-site medical care is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.

On-site medical care is especially important during the coronavirus pandemic.
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Amazon donated face protectors, thermometers, gloves, and hand-washing stations.

Amazon donated face protectors, thermometers, gloves, and hand-washing stations.
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Popsicle Place floors are designed for families caring for medically fragile children.

Popsicle Place floors are designed for families caring for medically fragile children.
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An industrial kitchen is equipped to produce more than 600,000 meals per year, with a large dining room that can accommodate social distancing.

An industrial kitchen is equipped to produce more than 600,000 meals per year, with a large dining room that can accommodate social distancing.
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Smaller rooms are set up to support children with school work, virtually and in person when it's safe, set up with WiFi and computers.

Smaller rooms are set up to support children with school work, virtually and in person when it's safe, set up with WiFi and computers.
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The shelter has dedicated spaces for monthly legal clinics on debt issues, tenant rights, and other legal issues.

The shelter has dedicated spaces for monthly legal clinics on debt issues, tenant rights, and other legal issues.
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It also has rec spaces for kids of all ages, including a children's play area and teen room.

It also has rec spaces for kids of all ages, including a children's play area and teen room.
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A rooftop deck is a safe way to get fresh air.

A rooftop deck is a safe way to get fresh air.
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The new shelter is part of Mary's Place's goal of making sure no child sleeps outside.

The new shelter is part of Mary's Place's goal of making sure no child sleeps outside.
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The shelter has a few different types of housing to meet different needs.

The shelter has a few different types of housing to meet different needs.
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Some spaces are set up to hold families longer term, including the Popsicle place rooms, while others are more short-term solutions for families who need a place to stay on short notice before moving.

Some spaces are set up to hold families longer term, including the Popsicle place rooms, while others are more short-term solutions for families who need a place to stay on short notice before moving.
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There's also room for 75 additional mats in cases of extreme weather emergencies.

There's also room for 75 additional mats in cases of extreme weather emergencies.
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Almost one-third of the families at Mary's Place have a family member at high risk for COVID-19.

Almost one-third of the families at Mary's Place have a family member at high risk for COVID-19.
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The shelter has emerged as a way to allow the most medically vulnerable families to get out of crowded shelters.

The shelter has emerged as a way to allow the most medically vulnerable families to get out of crowded shelters.
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"This space ensures we don't have to return families to homelessness during this unprecedented and trying time," said Marty Hartman, Mary's Place Executive Director.

"This space ensures we don't have to return families to homelessness during this unprecedented and trying time," said Marty Hartman, Mary's Place Executive Director.
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COVID-19IndiaCases: 226,770Deaths: 6,348Recovered: 109,462
COVID-19WorldCases: 6.42mnDeaths: 383kRecovered: 2.87mn
COVID-19USACases: 1.82mnDeaths: 106kRecovered: 485k