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Displaced Drake Hotel families to move to new housing

A Bloomington hotel and Minneapolis church are opening their doors after fire destroyed the Drake Hotel on Christmas Day.

MINNEAPOLIS — Hennepin County officials said new housing will be made available to the people displaced by the Christmas Day fire at the Drake Hotel in Minneapolis.

At a press conference on Friday, the county said families will be moved from temporary housing at Bethlehem Baptist Church to First Covenant Church in Minneapolis, and an additional 30 families will be able to move to a hotel in Bloomington.

"It's a longer term solution than a few nights," said Jodi Wentland, Assistant County Administrator of Human Services, of the stay at the hotel. 

Meanwhile, Dan Collison, the lead pastor at First Covenant, said they're prepared to house people for at least the next two weeks.

"For us, it didn't take a lot of reflection ... in many ways this was very intuitive," he said of the decision to open the church's doors.

Collison estimates 40 to 60 additional people will stay at First Covenant, which already has a shelter in its basement. The people from the Drake Hotel will sleep in the church's gymnasium. 

At last count, the Red Cross listed 127 people in the temporary shelter at Bethlehem Baptist Church.

RELATED: Drake Hotel fire extinguished, city orders partial demolition

The three-story Drake Hotel on 10th Street South caught fire early on Christmas morning, but wasn't fully extinguished until the following day. The fire was upgraded to a four-alarm response due to the amount of fire and manpower needed to search the structure and help with evacuations. 

The Christmas Day left more than 200 people without a place to stay, many of whom were already homeless, staying in an overflow shelter at the Drake. 

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

RELATED: Drake Hotel fire puts spotlight on affordable housing, homelessness

The city of Minneapolis is planning a partial demolition of the remaining structure due to safety concerns. A city spokesperson said site prep was being completed on Friday, with demolition work expected to begin Saturday.

The Minneapolis Foundation has established a fund specifically to help the people displaced by the Drake fire. You can donate here

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