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In 2017, tech businesses and leaders have stepped up as never before to help people who are homeless in the greater Seattle area.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s foundation, Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos, as well as a campaign supported by Starbucks, Microsoft and others have contributed millions of dollars in donations and building space for homeless shelters, affordable housing and other services to help those eager for a permanent home.
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The support is significant, but the need is huge and expanding.
On Tuesday, a national report revealed that, for the eighth month in a row, Seattle ranked as the fastest growing city for home prices. Soaring rents and housing prices are key factors in the region’s homelessness crisis. Seattle’s one-night count of homelessness — a snapshot of those living on the streets — found 3,857 unsheltered people this year, with an additional 4,619 individuals in shelters or transitional housing.
The Northwest’s thriving tech sector is fueling the region’s robust economy — but also driving those surging home prices as more people flock to jobs in the area. Seattle alone is spending close to $50 million a year helping people experiencing homelessness. It’s spurred many to call on the tech industry to play a role in resolving the crisis.
Last June, Allen announced a $1 million donation to help turn a southeast Seattle parking lot into 13 housing units for homeless individuals and couples. And in April, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation pledged $30 million to establish a combination of permanent housing and on-site services for homeless families, with an additional $5 million in support from the city.
Amazon, meanwhile, has focused its housing support on shelter beds. In 2016, the retail and cloud services giant converted a former motel slated for demolition into a temporary shelter for Mary’s Place, a nonprofit serving homeless families. Bezos also offered to match up to $1 million in contributions to Mary’s Place during the city’s annual Give Big donation day.
Read the source article at geekwire.com
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