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Denver mayor appeals to Catholic Archdiocese to shelter migrants, calls issue ‘urgent humanitarian need’

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Posted at 11:54 AM, Jan 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 15:24:24-05

DENVER — Mayor Michael Hancock is asking the Catholic Archdiocese of Denver for help sheltering a recent surge of migrants and asylum seekers to the city.

In a Dec. 30 letter to the Archbishop of Denver, Hancock said the city has become overwhelmed with the nearly 3,000 migrants from Central and South America and called the temporary crisis an “urgent humanitarian need.”

Hancock is asking the Catholic Archdiocese to allow the city to use the Little Sisters of the Poor at 3629 W. 29th Avenue to house up to 100 migrants in what the city believes is a currently empty facility.

The mayor hopes the city and the Archdiocese can come to an agreement to use Little Sisters of the Poor as a short-term shelter to assist “migrant families in need during the winter months,” Hancock said in the letter.

The City of Denver has spent more than $1.5 million on all aspects of sheltering arriving migrants since the first week of December and is on track to spend $3 million by the end of the month, according to city leaders.

The mayor issued an emergency declaration on Dec. 15, giving the city more resources and funding without having to go through the normal expenditure process.

“This has been extremely taxing on city resources. We are not a border community. We don't have federal resources like border communities do. So, the help that we can provide in Denver is very limited. And we're at the point where we're not able to sustain much longer. We're at our breaking point,” said Mikayla Ortega, Denver Joint Information Center representative.

The Central and South American migrants began arriving in the city on Dec. 5. Hundreds more arrived in the days following. The city has scrambled to open emergency shelters to accommodate what the city said are mostly asylum-seeking refugees.

Hancock has called on nonprofits, businesses and faith communities to help with additional support.

Denver officials announced a location where donations can be dropped off if Denverites are interested in helping arriving migrants. Officials said these are the items most urgently needed:

  • New men’s underwear
  • New women’s underwear
  • New women’s sports bras
  • Feminine products
  • Long sleeve shirts (men’s, women’s and unisex)
  • Jeans (men’s and women’s with special need for M)
  • New Socks (men’s and women’s)
  • New sweatshirts and sweatpants (S, M & L, both men’s and women’s)
  • Closed toe gym shoes (both men’s, women’s, boys, girls, infants)
  • Shoelaces
  • Winter coats and pullovers (men’s, women’s, children, and infants)
  • Backpacks and/or medium-sized duffel bags
  • New or very gently used men’s winter clothes (S +M only)

These items can be dropped off at Iglesia Ciudad De Dios, located at 5255 W. Warren Avenue in Denver. Donated items can be dropped off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.