A Fantasy With a Predictable Ending

Liberals are talking about doing away with police forces. How would that work, exactly? What if someone commits a crime? They have no answers, beyond humming a few bars of “Imagine.”

In Minneapolis, activists tried to realize another left-wing fantasy, to the cheers of journalists. On June 4, the Star Tribune headlined: “Volunteers turned former Sheraton Hotel in Minneapolis into sanctuary for homeless.”

While Lake Street burned last Friday, its stores gutted and streets filled with fear and confusion, one building stood tall as a beacon of hope for Minneapolis.

It was the former Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel, tucked just north of Lake and Chicago Avenue, a mile from where George Floyd took his final breaths. Evacuated of its conventional guests, the hotel has become a refuge for more than 200 homeless residents seeking shelter from the destruction that shook the city in the following days.

For the volunteers working around the clock to keep it running, the hotel-turned-shelter is one of a kind, an example of what can happen when people put their minds and bodies together to provide housing for those who need it most.

“People in the community have come together and created this amazing space of peace and sanctuary for these unhoused people, and brought together all these resources to be able to feed them, keep them safe, give them a place to exist,” said Maggie Mills, 31, one of the volunteers.

Volunteers worked communally:

There is no hierarchy among the collective of volunteers, who span the fields of medicine, mental health, social work, housing and public health.

And no rules for the homeless tenants:

Sarah Stackley, who has worked with the homeless population for the last nine years, began volunteering at the shelter Sunday. She described it as a “revolutionary model,” one not governed by restrictive rules that come with grants.

Much, much more at the link. Turning a Sheraton into a homeless shelter inspired a paean in New York Magazine.

Housing scarcity and an aggressive police force already threatened the most vulnerable people in Minneapolis. Then COVID-19 happened, and after it, the protests, which met a brutal reaction from local law enforcement.

It is ancillary to the point here, but this is a good example of a “journalist” blithely reciting a lie as a fact. Far from being brutal, the reaction of local law enforcement to riots–not “protests”–was supine. Minneapolis police abandoned their own 3rd Precinct station to the mob, which proceeded to burn it, because authorities were afraid of being perceived as “brutal.” A lot of good it did them.

Fister estimated that the former Sheraton is now home to around 250 people, with another 100 on a waiting list. The hotel’s owner, identified in local media reports as Jay Patel, “has been extraordinarily gracious,” she said, and “an active participant in the work that we’re doing.” …

…Fister said that residents intend to stay in the Sheraton for good, and organizers are talking to the owner, Jay Patel, to figure out how that transition would work. “This isn’t a shelter,” she added. “This isn’t temporary. We’re holding space so that residents can have control over their own living situation.”

That puff piece appeared on June 5. Just four days later, the experiment in rule-free living was over. On June 9, the Star Tribune headlined: “Homeless evicted from former Minneapolis hotel after drug overdose.”

Residents of the former Sheraton Minneapolis Midtown Hotel, tucked just north of Lake Street on Chicago Avenue, awoke to reports that the hotel’s fire alarm was pulled after 6 a.m. following an overdose. The hotel owner, Jay Patel, has ordered the eviction of all the guests, according to volunteers at the site.
Unlike traditional homeless shelters, people who stayed at the hotel were allowed to bring drugs and alcohol on-site.

What could go wrong?

But some residents at the hotel said conditions had begun to spin out of control in recent days, with people injecting heroin and methamphetamine in the hallways, and fights breaking out at night. Volunteers became overwhelmed.

“It started out well, then descended into chaos,” said Jennie Taylor, who had a room on the second floor. “People got the message that this was a place where you could use drugs freely and that attracted the wrong crowd.”

Shockingly. The next day, June 10, a Star Tribune columnist named Jennifer Brooks bemoaned the collapse of the Sheraton homeless shelter:

Once upon a time on Lake Street, there was a sanctuary.

Once upon a time? It lasted for less than a week and ended the day before yesterday. Not exactly Camelot.

A lefty filmed what a nice hotel looks like after a few days of being used as a homeless shelter that more or less encourages heroin and meth use:

It is a sad story. But you have to wonder who could possibly have expected a different ending.

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