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Denver changing time people can stay at city shelters in response to ‘unprecedented’ influx of migrants

An average of nearly 300 migrants from Central and South America have arrived to the Mile High City each day over the past week, city officials said Monday
Posted at 4:58 PM, Oct 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-03 12:43:20-04

DENVER – Unhoused people in Denver will see either a cut or an extension to the number of days they can stay at a city shelter as the Johnston administration responds to an “unprecedented increase” in the number of migrants arriving from Central and South America.

Illegal crossings across the southern border have been on the rise over the past several weeks after a brief decline in early summer, and many of those migrants have been making their way to major cities across the country like New York City, Boston, and Chicago.

In Denver, that influx of migrants has more than doubled since mid-September, with nearly 300 people coming to the Mile High City each day on average, according to the latest figures provided by city officials Monday. Nine buses from Texas arrived in Denver on Sunday alone, the city said.

That increase, according to the city, has also led to a doubling of the number of people staying at city shelters, which last week forced Denver to request help from the National Guard, as shelter capacity is being affected and the number of staff available to respond to the crisis is becoming strained, according to a spokesperson with the Denver Department of Human Services (DDHS).

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To accommodate for the increase, the city is changing its length-of-stay policies across all shelters. Here’s what’s changing starting Wednesday, Oct. 4:

  • Adult migrants without children will only be able to stay at a shelter for 14 days instead of 21
  • Arriving migrants with children will be able to stay at a shelter for 37 days instead of 30.

The DDHS spokesperson said the change will not affect people who arrived prior to that date.

“With the arrival of cold weather on the horizon, Denver is calling on communities around the state to support the sheltering effort, and on nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and individuals to aid in the response by volunteering, joining the effort as a contract worker, and donating needed items such as clothing,” said the DDHS spokesperson.

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.

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Colette Bordelon
9:57 PM, Sep 28, 2023

Want to donate your time (and get paid for it)? The city is seeking short-term shelter assistants and will pay you $29 an hour for helping out. You can see the job postings here. People with bilingual English/Spanish skills are highly preferred, but not being able to communicate in the language won’t rule you out for the position.

Denver7 has inquired how this most recent influx of migrants will impact the mayor’s 2023 budget, which called for redirecting $3.3 million from equipping rec. centers for emergency overnight sheltering (such as during severe weather events in the winter or for other emergencies, like sheltering migrants) to provide funding for the mayor’s House1000 plan.

To date, Denver has served more than 21,000 migrants at a cost of $26 million, city officials said.

Denver school leaders work to help hundreds of unhoused migrant students

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