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More King County families seeking shelter than there are beds available, nonprofit says

If Mary’s Place raised $1 million by May 12, Amazon would match the amount. The nonprofit was able to raise more than $1.1 million.

SEATTLE — A fundraising effort that ended Thursday raised more than $1.1 million to help homeless families in Seattle.

Mary’s Place’s Dream Big fundraising campaign raised rapid response funds to help the nonprofit operate emergency shelters and help families financially struggling to stay in their homes.

All 700 beds in Mary’s Place’s five family shelters have often been full, according to the nonprofit organization. On an average night, Mary’s Place said it is only able to provide shelter to less than half of the families looking for a place to stay.

Mary's Place, which operates the King County Emergency Family Shelter Intake Line, said the number of calls they are receiving for help is the highest it’s been in years.

As the rain came down Thursday, Tanita Horton said the conditions outside make the desperate situation even more difficult. Horton works for Mary's Place at its Burien shelter.

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“Look at the weather that we're experiencing, and to tell someone that, ‘No we don't have a place to bring you inside right now to safety, and you have to stay out and essentially weather the storm,’ it's heartbreaking,” said Horton.

“The need is greater than it's ever been. This is a crisis,” said Marty Hartman, the executive director of Mary’s Place.

Hartman spent Thursday in a final fundraising push. Mary’s Place’s Dream Big fundraising campaign kicked off on April 1 and it ended at 11:59 p.m. on May 12.

If Mary’s Place raised $1 million then Amazon would match the donations. According to the fundraising website, the campaign raised more than $1.1 million by the 11:59 p.m. fundraising deadline.

The campaign raised rapid response funds to help Mary's Place operate emergency shelters and help families financially struggling to stay in their homes.

The money for rental assistance is gone. It's been depleted, and it's not going to be replenished anytime soon. We need to prevent this flood into homelessness,” said Hartman.

Data from the King County Regional Homelessness Authority shows the problem is getting worse. The last count in King County found more than 11,751 people experiencing homelessness.

“I know that together we can figure out a way to make things better and to put the pieces back together for families that are struggling and experiencing homelessness,” said Horton.

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