May 29

Sheltering in (a Special) Place

Mary's Place Family Center in The Regrade is helping families during COVID-19.

After years of planning, Mary’s Place Family Center opened its doors early March 2020 in one of Amazon’s corporate office buildings in The Regrade.  According to executive director Marty Hartman, the timing was just right to help families in need deal with the effects of COVID-19.

“At Mary’s Place Family Center in The Regrade, our kids are able to safely finish school, our employees watch children for extended hours to support parents who lost access to childcare, and moms and dads are able to search for new jobs on new laptops,” she said. “This new shelter, opening when it did, has been our saving grace. It was our Amazon family that recognized what we needed before we ever realized it, and this space ensures we don’t have to return families to homelessness during this unprecedented and trying time. I always knew this shelter would be a beacon of light in the community, and the critical support we’ve received from our neighbors at Amazon and beyond has been life-saving ever since this pandemic began.”

The 63,000-square-foot shelter features enough space for up to 200 moms, dads, and children each night, plus room for 30 families with medically fragile children. Other highlights include an outdoor play area, an industrial kitchen with space to prepare meals for other Mary’s Place shelters, a health clinic, computer labs, and space for services like pro bono legal support, resume reviews, and more.

The new space at The Regrade will increase the shelter capacity of Mary’s Place in King County by 40 percent and will support more than 1,000 family members experiencing homelessness each year.

The volunteer program is on hold due to COVID-19, but you can still help by ordering essential items from the Mary’s Place Amazon Wish List, or by making a donation directly.

Story by Ethan Chung and photographs courtesy Pittman.

At The Center

SLU is the geographical center of Seattle