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Ex-con hopes to relocate soon, but only across town

  • Blog Post by: James Eli Shiffer
  • May 27, 2010 - 10:23 AM

 

Guillermo Gonzalez and the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. (photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii)

Guillermo Gonzalez and the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. (photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii)

 

Federal ex-con and man-in-limbo Guillermo Gonzalez says Thursday  there's hope for him to leave the seedy Sir Francis Drake Hotel in downtown Minneapolis and move into veterans housing. That's far short of what he wants - to return to his wife and three children in the city of Santiago de los Cabelleros in the Dominican Republic. Photographer Richard Tsong-Taatarii and I told Gonzalez's story Sunday in words and video - Guillermo Rafael Cabrera Gonzalez, 67, is serving two years supervised release in a state where he knows no one.  Since the story was published, Gonzalez said a stranger offered to let him stay in his house. But he expects to find out today whether there's available housing near the Veterans Administration hospital, where he's a patient.

I can understand his eagerness to leave the Drake Hotel. Last week, a guy who said he was a security guard called the police on us when we were filming this video on a public sidewalk out front. He may have thought we were following up on a 2008 Star Tribune story that described how the aging hotel was being used as an overflow homeless shelter for Hennepin County. At least the meals are cheap - on one day I visited, a hand-written note on a piece of paper stuck to a wall announced the lunch special: cheeseburger and fries, $5.

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