The Minneapolis Foundation has announced the creation of the Minnesota Helps — Drake Hotel Fire Recovery Fund in response to a Christmas Day fire at the Francis Drake Hotel that left more than two hundred people without shelter.
According to the Star-Tribune, the Drake was Hennepin County's only overflow shelter for families with children experiencing homelessness and housed about thirty families under the county's program, while many others rented rooms there on their own. To address the needs of the displaced individuals and families, the foundation and other local organizations are working to raise at least $1 million.
As of January 2, the fund had raised nearly $500,000 and disbursed nearly $146,000 to meet the immediate and short-term needs of individuals and families affected by the fire. The awards include two grants totaling $50,000 to Salvation Army Harbor Lights Center for hot meals and emergency supplies; $25,000 to the Folwell Neighborhood Association, which is providing direct support to the affected individuals and families; $40,000 to First Covenant Church of Minneapolis to provide families with safe, sanitary, and supportive temporary shelter for the next two weeks; and $11,758 to the Cultural Wellness Center in support of the organization's first responder and navigation efforts.
The foundation also is working to distribute up to $250,000 to partner organizations working to provide long-term, stable housing and other supports to affected families, including rent subsidies, first and last month's rent, and assistance with housing applications.
"We're looking to raise dollars that support the families' most immediate needs and then their long-term needs," the foundation's senior vice president of impact, Chanda Smith Baker, told the Star-Tribune. "We're being as responsive as we can."