DENVER — Migrants who had been living under a bridge in Denver for weeks were moved to city shelters Thursday ahead of dangerously cold temperatures.
For the past several weeks, many people had been living in tents near W. 48th Avenue and Fox Street in the city's Globeville neighborhood. Many said they ended up under the bridge after their shelter time "timed out" and they had nowhere else to go.
According to the City of Denver's website, migrants without children are allowed to stay in shelters for 14 days. Migrant families, however, are not being discharged at this time "though discharges are expected to resume in early 2024," according to the city.
Denver clearing out migrant encampment under bridge ahead of cold temperatures
City workers were out clearing the encampment on Thursday ahead of forecasted sub-zero temperatures.
On Wednesday, Jaime Andres Garcia was packing up his belongings in preparation for the move. The next day, he told Denver7 he was settling into his new space and was relieved he didn't have to endure the cold anymore.
“[I'm] happy because we’re not going to be there anymore," Garcia told Denver7 in Spanish.
Garcia said he had been living in a tent underneath the bridge for about a month and a half. At one point, he was sharing the tent with four other people. He said he did everything he could to keep warm, including using heaters and propane tanks.
Garcia told Denver7 that the city offered him a bus ticket and he will be leaving for Atlanta sometime this week. Now that he is in the United States, he said he has several goals he hopes to accomplish.
“Push forward, accomplish what I want — a better quality of life than what I had in my country," Garcia said.
Denver to close migrant encampment and open two congregate shelters
The migrants were moved to one of two congregate shelters the city opened last week. According to a city spokesperson, those who were moved into the shelter from the Zuni encampment transitioned to other housing or decided to leave the city, which freed up space to move those who were living under the bridge.
Around 50 people were moved into the shelters from the bridge encampment on Thursday. Between the two congregate shelters, the city said it has room for 320 people in total.
Migrants will be able to stay at the sites for 30 days, according to the city. Officials said the migrants can opt to receive help with finding housing or receive a bus ticket to leave the city.
Here's how you can help refugees and immigrants coming to Denver
If you’d like to help as the city responds to this migrant crisis, you can do so with donations – either material or monetary. If opting for the former, the city is asking for the following items:
- Socks (new/unopened only)
- Bras - small/medium/large
- Women’s clothing - small/medium/large
- Men’s clothing - small/medium
- Winter hats - gender neutral and kids/one size fits all
- Winter gloves - men's, women's and kids/small and medium sizes
- Scarves - various sizes
Those items can be dropped off at the following locations:
- Community Ministry (Children's clothing only), located at 1755 S Zuni Street in Denver, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Monday through Thursday
- Para Ti Mujer, located at 150 Sheridan Boulevard Suite 200 in Lakewood, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday or Friday
- Colorado Changemakers Collective, located at 12075 East 45th Avenue in Denver, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday
Please call 720-385-9173 before dropping off donations.
If you want to donate money, you can donate to the Newcomers Fund.