MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the third day in the temporary shelters for the hundreds of families who lost their homes in the Drake Hotel fire.

A total of 250 people were staying at the Drake Hotel, which had hotel rooms, apartments and an overflow shelter for people transitioning out of homelessness. The Red Cross says more than 100 people sheltered with them after the fire and they will continue to help them over the coming days.

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“We have two additional locations that have stepped forward and have said we can have our shelter there, it’s very likely that we are going to move people on some point to those locations after Saturday or on Saturday,” Phil Hansen, CEO of the Minnesota chapter of the American Red Cross, said.

Many of the displaced people are staying at the Bethlehem Baptist Hotel, where they’re getting help from the Red Cross. Everyone staying at the Bethlehem Baptist Church and the Red Cross volunteers were all forced to evacuate for about 45 minutes for a false fire alarm midday.

“Of course, all the kids went haywire, crying. Everybody’s scattered because we just went through this,” mother Shannon Harrison said.

Harrison is a mother of four children, all under 12 years of age. The whole family has been staying at a temporary shelter since Christmas morning. The biggest fear comes from contemplating what’s next.

(credit: CBS)

“We don’t have anywhere to go anymore, and we’re out here and it’s bad, and we’re all emotional,” she said. “None of the kids in here have had a hot breakfast at all. We’re all sleeping on cots. It’s crowded. I mean, we get the situation, but at the same time we’re not seeing the results of what you say is supposed to be happening.”

The results Harrison wants to see are the generous donations so many Minnesotans have contributed.

About 30 families will soon move to a Bloomington hotel, while many others who be staying at First Covenant Church, which just northeast of the Drake.

The Minneapolis Foundation has been the main collection point for money donations. As of 2 p.m., Marielle Mohs reports that the Minneapolis Foundation has raised $270,000 in relief funds as of late Friday night — and it’s growing by the minute.

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The Minneapolis Foundation reported that they are using the money in several ways, including putting up families in hotels, giving to groups working with the victims to pay for supplies, such as the Salvation Army, Hope Community, Urban Home Works, Harbor Lights, Westminster Church and Bethlehem Baptist Church. Also, once families are resettled to a new home, they will be giving money to their new landlords to help with rent.

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Some of the kids that lived at the Drake Hotel go to school within the Minneapolis School District, so the the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers Union wants to help. They are collecting gift cards to Target, Aldi and Cub to give to the parents of their students. If you want to donate as well, you can mail gift cards to the MFT building or any Minneapolis Public School.

On Friday afternoon, a group of firefighters presented a check for $10,000 to Mayor Jacob Frey, to help out victims of the fire.

Over the next two days, a contractor is going to demolish the east portion of the building. Then, once those engineers are in the building, they will be able to decide if the west side of the building will have to come down, too.

Displaced residents who are not staying in a shelter and who need help are asked to call 612-871-7676.

How To Help

Visit redcross.org/mn, call 612-872-3226, or 1-800-RED-CROSS, or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation that will support disasters big and small.

Donations can also be made through the Minneapolis Foundation. Text DRAKEFIRE to 243725.

Donations may also be mailed to:
American Red Cross Minnesota Region
1201 West River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55454

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