More than 200 people sheltering in a vacant Mpls. hotel face eviction

People standing outside a hotel.
Volunteers and residents stand outside the former Sheraton hotel, which has been dubbed "sanctuary hotel." More than 200 homeless people and activists who have been living in the vacant hotel in Minneapolis were told on Tuesday that they need to leave.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

More than 200 people who had been taking refuge in a vacant Minneapolis hotel since last week were ordered to leave Tuesday.

The former Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel, on Chicago Avenue near Lake Street, was turned into a shelter during the fires and unrest after the killing of George Floyd.

For more than a week, the hotel’s owner had allowed homeless people and activists to occupy the property.

But he received notice of lease violations in a letter this week from the property’s management company. Ryan Cos., which manages the Midtown Exchange Project, cited rampant drug use and sales in common areas, mounting garbage and no apparent effort to comply with COVID-19 protocols.

Rosemary Fister, a public health nurse, helped organize what's become known as the “Sanctuary Hotel.” She said some residents intend to defy the eviction order.

“I don’t know if the owner has the power to evict us. I don’t know if the police in Minneapolis have the power to remove us from housing at this point,” she said. "This is a means of addressing historic, deep disparities and inequality. This is pragmatic and this has inspired a lot of people."

All of the hotel’s 136 rooms had been occupied. It's unclear how many residents left after being served with the notice.

Two people hug outside.
Maria Moon Beaumaster hugs Desmond Carthron after they spoke Tuesday during a press conference in front of the former Sheraton hotel. More than 200 people, including Beaumaster and Carthron, have been living at the hotel, which had been turned into a shelter for people who are experiencing homelessness.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News

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