DENVER — The City of Denver has helped more than 25,000 migrants since December 2022, which has cost the city $29 million to date.
"There's a reason we keep asking for federal funding, which is because this is a significant strain. It's a strain on our budget," said John Ewing, spokesperson for Denver Human Services.
Nonprofits across the city have answered the call for help in the past 11 months. Yoli Casas' office at ViVe Wellness is now a space where children come to learn.
“The kids learn English so fast,” Casas exclaimed.
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Since December 2022, ViVe Wellness’ mission has expanded to serve the thousands of migrant children and their families arriving in Denver.
Each day, migrant children — mostly from Venezuela — board a bus from the shelter and come to ViVe Wellness for a day of learning while their parents find work.
“I think sometimes you don't know how you're going to react, just like any emergency situation,” said Casas.
According to the city’s migrant dashboard, 137 individuals arrived to the Mile High City Wednesday. Nearly 2,400 migrants are living in non-city facilities — a major uptick from the roughly 500 people who were being sheltered in July, but not as high as the 3,000 people who were sheltered a few weeks back.
Ewing said migrant arrivals and services have cost the city $29 million to date. Dropping temperatures could cause that number to increase at a faster rate.
The state has reimbursed Denver $3.5 million to date, while the federal government has provided just over $900,000. The Department of Homeland Security will soon provide an additional $8.6 million in funding.
A report released this week by the Common Sense Institute projected migrant services will cost the city $36 million to $39 million by the end of the year. Ultimately, the report finds Denverites will be left paying the bulk of the costs for migrant services.
“We're continuing to ask for more money from the federal government,” said Ewing.
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Casas said ViVe Wellness is prepared to provide support when needed.
“We need clothing. Winter's coming. I think it’s a group effort. It's a humanity effort here,” said Casas.
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 Richard T. Castro Human Services Center, 1200 N. Federal Blvd. from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The city is asking that you do not just drive there and drop off donations at the main entrance. Instead, you’re asked to call to schedule your donations drop-off at (303) 514-0643.
If you want to donate money, you can donate to the Newcomers Fund.