Resource center for victims of Drake Hotel fire opens Friday

A new resource center for the people impacted by the Christmas Day fire at the Drake Hotel opened Friday at a nearby church. 

The American Red Cross and other partners are opening a MARC—multi-agency resource center—for people impacted by the fire at Bethlehem Baptist Church, located just a few blocks from what is left of the hotel. 

Donations for victims of Drake Hotel fire in Minneapolis

The American Red Cross is leading a Multi- Resource Center (MARC) to assist 250 people displaced by Drake Hotel fire. Case workers assisting with housing and distribution of truckloads of donations. (FOX 9)

Beginning Friday morning, caseworkers and community resources will be available to help those residents displaced by the fire create personal recovery plans. It will also be an opportunity to give out the items donated from the community. 

"Just the sheer volume of the donated goods that the city has been receiving—I know for this specific event we transported between eight and 10 truckloads," Jon Gelletta with the American Red Cross said. "That's 24-foot box trucks worth of donated items to this building." 

Donations for the Drake Hotel victims

Donations collected for the displaced residents of the Drake Hotel will be distributed at the new resource center. (FOX 9)

Hennepin County had been using the Drake Hotel as a designated overflow shelter for families experiencing homelessness. About 250 people were living in the shelter at the time of the fire. A new report says firefighters went from floor to floor rescuing people, sometimes using ladders to get them out of the building. 

Crews have begun demolishing the building that, for many, was a shelter of last resort. 

The primary concern right now is finding stable housing for everyone displaced by the fire. 

“It’s been a week since this has happened. Our goal is that we get everyone into safe and affordable housing as soon as possible, but as I said before, this is a challenge because the availability is very small,” said Jo-Anne Stately, director for community impact for the Minneapolis Foundation. 

Investigators said the fire started in Unit 244. They are unable to determine what caused it, but said it does not appear to have been intentionally set. The investigation into the fire remains open.