Chronicling homelessness: Amazon primes itself to work with shelter

One of the company’s buildings will host Mary’s Place, a Seattle homeless shelter – but not everyone in the US is happy at the prospect of one next door to them

Until last week, the most famous building at the Amazon headquarters in Seattle was probably its giant glass-covered domes, which will house a botanical garden when complete. That may change with the company’s announcement that in three years one of its buildings will host a homeless shelter, Mary’s Place. “Amazon employees and Mary’s Place residents will move in together in early 2020,” CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

The national conversation about homelessness this month has been inflected by talk of big new projects such as shelters, and predictably not everyone is happy at the prospect of one next door. Salt Lake City residents, for instance, have been embroiled in a rancorous debate over the location of three new ones. San Francisco, meanwhile, is celebrating a $100m pledge to combat chronic homelessness, and one of its own shelters is enjoying a surprisingly positive reception.

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