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Denver nonprofits still helping migrants find jobs, housing

Posted at 3:58 PM, Mar 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-06 20:15:28-05

DENVER — The City and County of Denver demobilized its Emergency Operations Center Friday and transitioned its migrant support to Denver Human Services. In the meantime, nonprofits are still working to help the migrants find permanent housing and jobs.

“We do have them housed in our transitional program house. It wasn't designed for them, so the transitional housing program is being temporarily suspended because they're staying there,” said Raymond Johnson, Community Outreach Service Center peer navigator.

Johnson said connecting migrants to jobs is also challenging because many need work permits, which require a government identification number that many migrants do not have.

“What we’re looking for is a place to where they could call it their own, somewhere they can live… but if you don't have a job, you can't pay your rent, you can't pay your bills,” he said.

Johnson said the center has helped families become a part of their new community in other ways.

“We do have the kids in school, which is a plus. But there's three adults, and we're trying to get the adults working so they can at least start to live their life, on that pathway to becoming American citizens,” Johnson said.

According to the latest data from the city, 124 migrants are currently in Denver shelters and 1,195 are in non-city operated shelters.

Johnson said the migrants in shelters are still in need of donations.

“Clothing, food, hygiene,” he said.

Diapers, men's work boots and backpacks are also on the donations list.

Johnson said fewer arrivals each day have made it easier to help those already here. But with just a year to apply for asylum, the future for these families remains uncertain.

In a statement, the city said it is working with its nonprofit and church partners to continue to help the migrants.

"We are working daily to strategize how we continue to serve people at our shelters, and this includes reaching out to our nonprofit and church partners to address the gaps in providing ongoing sheltering capacity and support.

Denver's urgent asks for support continue to be around housing, sheltering, and transportation needs and may include federal funding, federal action, and overall federal coordination."

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