A Macy’s location in Alexandria, Virginia, has become a temporary home to more than 60 homeless people, according to BBC News.

As the Amazon era grows stronger, shopping malls are struggling to survive. Some communities, however, have turned tragedy into opportunity by transforming once well-stocked retail spaces with trampoline parks, college classrooms, offices, churches, and now, shelters for those in need.

The Carpenter’s Shelter, a nonprofit group that offers education, employment, and shelter to hundreds of homeless men, women, and children each year, recently moved its services into a vacant Macy’s in Alexandria. Now, the empty store-front provides a place of comfort with 60 beds, hot meals, and showers for families who are experiencing a rough patch.

According to BBC News, the Carpenter’s Shelter will occupy the space for 18 months while its existing headquarters at 930 N. Henry St. undergoes a $40 million facelift.

A Historic Landmark Transformed

Shannon Steene, the executive director of Alexandria’s Carpenter’s Shelter, confirmed the shelter’s relocation plans in February.

"Late spring is when we are hoping to move in," Steene said in a statement. "We are in about 16,000 square feet, and we are building out roughly a similar footprint in the temporary space to house our operations."

According to public records, mall owner Howard Hughes Corp. helped renovate the second floor of the store to accommodate its new residents.

“Once you talk to them [Carpenter’s Shelter], you realize it really is about transitioning people from being down on their luck to getting counsel to seek permanent employment and permanent housing…. It’s a really important mission and we’re all thankful that somebody is focused on that,” Senior Vice President of Development at Howard Hughes Corp., Mark Bulmash said in a statement. “We figured out how to accommodate it all and make it happen, rather than focus on all the reasons not to do it.”

Transforming abandoned malls into homeless shelters sounds like a pretty amazing idea to me. What do you think about the transition? Let us know in the comment section below! 

Mental health education is now required in Virginia. Learn more about it here!