MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death, some sought sanctuary at an old hotel in Minneapolis.

One week ago, the former Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis was being used as a sanctuary for people experiencing homelessness. Since then, things have drastically changed.

READ MORE: Former Hotel Transforms Into Shelter For Those Who Lost Homes During Protests

The former Sheraton hotel was housing 200 people who were experiencing homelessness. Since then, the residents have been cleared out.

Many are now living in Powderhorn Park.

Michelle Smith is a volunteer who works with people who are experiencing homelessness.

“We need a place to put people because the shelters are closed, we are dealing with a virus, we are dealing with a situation of violence because George Floyd got killed and murdered by police,” Smith said.

Hundreds experiencing homelessness found refuge two weeks ago at this Midtown hotel. It suddenly closed, some set up camp in Powderhorn Park, others like Abu Bakr found a band-aid fix

“Right now it’s day-to-day, I got a hotel now but that is just till Monday, I see all these people with the tents so that is probably next,” Bakr said.

The people who are in tents got an unwanted wakeup call Friday, as park police gave them notice to evict by 8 a.m. Neighbors, on the other hand, came out in force saying they want the new residents to stay.

“I think the city should find these people a place to live, I mean we have a pandemic going on,” David Tilsen said.

In the meantime, he and the others at the park say the tents are welcome to stay. And as they stood in support, a park commissioner showed up and word spread that the eviction had been lifted.

“We rescinded the eviction. I think we need to have a lan to give them, housing, resources, because it’s not fair to our residents, homeless community, they need to find places they can stay,” AK Hasaan said.

And for now they will. Bakr will likely be there soon, but as he searches for a job and dreams of studying computer programming, stable housing is the key to a stable future.

“I just want to see all these people figure their self out, open up a place, get them housing, drug counseling, counseling period. I think that would just be ideal,” Bakr said.

The temporary solution is that now volunteers plan to staff this tent 24-7 with security, food and medical supplies.

Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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