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Where are immigrant families now? Following up three months after Zuni encampment clean-up

It's been three months since the city of Denver moved hundreds of immigrant families off the streets
Hernandez Family
Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-03 21:23:25-04

DENVER — It's been three months since one of Denver's largest homeless encampments was cleared.

On Jan. 3, the city moved hundreds of unhoused immigrants, mostly from Venezuela, who were living in tents near Zuni and Speer into apartments and congregate shelters. Wednesday, Denver7 caught up with one of those families and spoke with city officials about how the city response has been going.

Adriana Hernandez said she, her husband and their four children had been living in tents at the encampment.

“It was hard for my kids. During that time it was snowing, my daughter would cry a lot," Hernandez said, in Spanish.

Thankfully, help came when they needed it most. Hernandez's family was moved into an apartment thanks to the city and the nonprofit ViVe Wellness during a large clean-up of the encampment in January.

“I’m thankful they opened the doors for me," Hernandez added.

Denver7 spoke with Jon Ewing, with Denver Human Services, who said, overall, things have gone well since then, but added they've seen their fair share of ups and downs.

"We helped a lot of families at that time, we've helped a lot of families since," said Ewing. "We've had people who have run into trouble paying their rent, you know, so we tried to double back with them. The key there is communication."

Ewing said the work has not stopped since.

"The trick is keeping them in housing, right? The trick is making sure that they do have work, the trick is helping them with work authorization, if they're eligible, the trick is making sure that they aren't being evicted, and that they're coming back to us for assistance when they need it."

Hernandez said the city helped her family pay for their first month's rent and deposit. She told Denver7 that her husband has since gotten a job and they've been able to take over the rent payment on their own."

“I feel very happy, I feel comfortable," Hernandez added.

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