While Amazon got ready to build a new office tower at the site of an old Travelodge site, homeless shelter Mary’s Place had been operating out of the former motel.
Now, as the project gets closer to breaking ground, Amazon has taken steps to make sure the shelter isn’t set adrift after the motel comes down. Seattle Times reported Tuesday that Mary’s Place will have a permanent home in the new development on the site.
Or, as Amazon head of real estate John Schoettler told the Times, “permanent, until homelessness is solved.”
Mary’s Place had previously moved between locations semi-frequently as space became available, with the Travelodge site being its latest stop. Having the space next to the Amazon offices—and getting that space rent-free—means a permanent home.
“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,” Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place, told the New York Times.
Hartman told Seattle Times that the donation will allow them to double their staff.
And even while the building is under construction, they won’t have to say goodbye to the neighborhood: They’ll move a block away to another former motel that Amazon, of course, owns.
Mary’s Place shelters women, children, and families, so having large, private spaces like what’s offered in a motel environment works well, Hartman told Seattle Times: “Individual rooms are an incredible gift to families to maintain their individual dignity.
Schoettler revealed the news to Hartman by giving her a large, golden key wrapped in an Amazon box—which Amazon captured on video. Watch the moment below.