Amazon is jumping in to help with the homeless problem by providing a safe haven near its downtown campus.
The old Travelodge Motel at 8th and Bell is transforming into a temporary shelter for homeless families — more than 200 people.
“We were thrilled and excited to get a phone call to say, ‘Would you be interested in expanding your shelter in a building of ours?’” said Marty Hartman, the executive director for Mary’s Place, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless families by providing a place to stay and services to get them back on their feet.
Amazon now owns the former Travelodge building and this week said it will let Mary’s Place use it, rent free, as a shelter for a year.
“We were just like absolutely thrilled. It’s a dream come true,” added Hartman.
It will be a place for more than 200 people to sleep at night.
The shelter, which will only open during overnight hours Monday through Friday, doubles the amount of beds Mary’s Place has to offer.
“The reality is that this is not the end-all either. We’ll be still turning families away but we’ll be helping as many as we can and bringing in new families every day,” said Hartman.
The nonprofit will use the building free of charge, until Amazon begins construction at the lot in the spring of 2017.