Thirteen families displaced by tornado remain at ‘poverty hotel’

One month after a tornado struck north Minneapolis, 13 families displaced by the storm are still staying at the Drake Hotel.

Shelter providers call the Drake a “poverty hotel.” Most of the rooms are rented out by the week by single adults who cannot afford a regular apartment. Hennepin County uses it when all the family shelters are full.

Drake Hotel

In the first few days after the storm, 54 families were staying at the downtown Minneapolis hotel, but county officials acknowledged it wasn’t an ideal situation.

Many of the families that remain at the Drake face more serious barriers to housing, said Cathy ten Broeke, the coordinator of the Office to End Homelessness in Minneapolis and Hennepin County. She said county staff are working with those families to find housing as soon as possible.

“We will keep working with them until we find a solution, but it will take a little longer,” ten Broeke wrote in an email today.

She said a few families will be moving out sooner. Some are waiting for landlords to make repairs so they can move back into their original apartments. Others have signed leases that start July 1.

Photo: Maintenance worker Steve Preston takes a smoking break at the Francis Drake Hotel on Friday, May 27, 2011. (MPR Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

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