Amazon got into housing because the company started to have enough of a presence in the community that called for being a good neighbor and helping solve some of the issues that the families in the community were facing,” says Alice Shobe, Amazon’s first Director of Amazon in the Community.
The company first got into housing when Amazon’s real estate VP John Schoettler acquired some new property in Seattle to build the new headquarters. Shuttler offered nonprofit organization Mary’s Place the use of two motels on the new property parcels as homeless shelters for a year while waiting to be demolished and replaced with a high-rise.
When the new headquarters took shape, Amazon ended up including a state-of-the-art and the state’s largest homeless shelter right in one of the buildings. Since March 2020, Mary’s Place welcomes 200 families members each night.