Amazon has opened a special permanent homeless shelter at its headquarters in downtown Seattle.
The shelter, which has been in operation for three years and is operated by the local non-profit organization Mary & # 39; s Place, is opening because Internet giant employees worked from home during the coronavirus outbreak.
The eight-story, 63,000-square-meter shelter was built in one of Amazon's office buildings in the Denny Regrade district and separated from Amazon's offices by private entrances and acoustic isolation. It is a family home that can accommodate up to 200 people.
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, the shelter is home to 50 families – each in a private space – and adhering to a strict cleaning schedule and social distance rules. It also provides access to corona virus tests.
Under normal circumstances, the shelter is expected to accommodate more than 1,000 families a year.
Marty Hartman, Executive Director of Mary’s Place, said: “This new shelter that was opening at that time was our rescue.
"It was our Amazon neighbors who realized what we needed before we ever realized it, and this space ensures that we don't have to put families back homeless in this unprecedented and stressful time."
According to Amazon and Mary’s Place, it is the largest family home in Washington State today.
Amazon and nonprofit Mary & # 39; s Place announced the opening of the Mary & # 39; s Place Family Center at The Regrade on Thursday. It is located in one of the main Amazon buildings in Seattle
The family home is located on eight floors of an Amazon office building and is 63,000 square meters in size. The other half of the building consists of Amazon office space
The shelter's facilities include an industrial kitchen (pictured), a large dining room – large enough for social distance – and space for the Amazon legal team to provide free support
A view of a common room in the new animal shelter with a variety of clothing and shoes
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos thanked Mary & # 39; s Place for partnering with Amazon at the shelter
The family home and the Amazon offices have acoustic separation and separate entrances. Squares and other public spaces are used by both families and Amazon workers
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos pictured in 2019
Hartman also noted that in the new shelter, "our children can safely finish school – our employees watch children for longer hours to support working parents who no longer have access to childcare – and that mothers and fathers use new laptops for new jobs can search. & # 39;
Features of the shelter include a large dining room – large enough for social distance – an industrial kitchen with commercial cooking appliances, space for the Amazon legal team to provide free support and relaxation for children and teenagers.
John Schoettler, vice president of global real estate and facilities at Amazon, told Fast Company that the office building is essentially split in half lengthways. Half of it is shared for Amazon use. The credit on the other hand is used by Mary’s Place. "
The acoustic separation between the two halves of the building was crucial. "Since Mary’s Place is open 24 hours a day, there will be lots of children and various activities on the one hand, while there may be a lot of heads on the other – down work and quiet space or lots of meetings," he said .
However, squares and other public areas around the building have been created to be used by both Amazon employees and the families who live in the shelter.
One of Mary & # 39; s Place's demands when converting the office building into a shelter was to have separate rooms for the families to sleep peacefully in, which is challenging as the building is a typical office tower.
The project designers found a solution to the problem after finding that "a window of the highest quality that you can get in a shared environment doesn't require a window," Peter Graphite Design's Peter Krech told Fast Company.
Instead: “You need an acoustic door, you need an acoustic ceiling and you need a really comfortable room. But you can give the community and social spaces the daylight and the high quality experience spaces, and you can take the sleep program and make it really functional, ”he added.
Two of the floors of the new shelter are dedicated to medically underprivileged children. There is also a program for young mothers and their babies
The shelter practices strict hygiene and social distance during the coronavirus pandemic. Only 50 families currently live in the shelter
Bunk beds are placed in a room where families can sleep with a privacy curtain
The project designers created windowless spaces that are specifically designed to sleep well and saved window areas for common areas
The inside of a bedroom with bunk beds and a sink. The sleeping areas are soundproofed to ensure a restful night
A shared bathroom in the shelter with changing rooms for babies is shown here
The shelter also has shared washers and dryers that residents can use
Municipal meeting rooms have been set up that residents can use to practice interviews, fill out school forms, and get legal assistance
The shelter provides residents with computers for job hunting or homework
An outdoor community space in the shelter that can also be used by Amazon employees
Two of the shelter's eight floors have been reserved for medically challenged children and have on-site medical care. In addition, rooms for residents and volunteers – including Amazon employees – were reserved as conference center-like meeting rooms.
The shelter plans were first announced in 2017. Amazon offers Mary & # 39; s Place free rental and utilities.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos posted pictures of the new space on his Instagram account on Thursday, thanking Mary & # 39; s Place for the partnership that brought this creative solution to life. #NoChildSleepsOutside. & # 39;
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