After becoming homeless, Connie Wade realized she’d be missing something critical to care for her daughter.
She and 12-year-old Emilyanne couldn’t camp in a car or on the streets because they need to plug in a machine that helps the girl breathe easier. Emilyanne has Down syndrome and her breathing is interrupted every six minutes without a CPAP device.
A typical open-space homeless shelter promised them a spot by an electrical outlet, but Wade felt they’d be too vulnerable.
Then they got an offer from Mary’s Place, a family homeless shelter that recently opened a facility inside a gleaming new building on Amazon’s Seattle campus. Believed to be the first homeless shelter built inside a corporate building in the U.S., the nonprofit’s Popsicle Place shelter program helps homeless children with life-threatening health conditions.
“Without Popsicle Place, these kids would die,” said Marty Hartman, executive director of Mary’s Place.
Amazon’s state-of-the-art, eight-story building allowed the unique program to triple its capacity. The $100 million commitment to the shelter is the tech giant’s single largest philanthropic contribution to its hometown, which it transformed with tens of thousands of high-paid tech jobs that some blame for exacerbating income inequality and affordable housing problems.
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