DENVER – The City of Denver announced Wednesday it will open a second emergency shelter as migrants from Central and South America continue to arrive to the Mile High City.
The city opened its first emergency shelter for migrants at an undisclosed recreation center on Dec. 6 and as of 2 p.m. Wednesday, that shelter was housing 271 Spanish-speaking people, with 62 others being housed at area churches.
The second shelter will also be activated at another, undisclosed recreation center, officials said.
Additionally, the city has designated a third recreation center to serve as a reception center for newly arriving migrants, where people can access emergency shelter and/or receive help for reunification with family or friends.
“With migrants continuing to arrive in Denver, additional capacity is needed in order to ensure basic needs are being met while ensuring the city does not experience a humanitarian crisis of keeping hundreds of unhoused migrants displaced in our city,” officials said in a news release.
Earlier this week, city officials said approximately 600 migrants had arrived to the city over the past several months, with an additional 48 migrants arriving at local homeless shelters over the weekend. On Thursday, Mayor Michael Hancock said that number had grown to over 700, with just over 100 migrants arriving to Denver's bus terminal on Wednesday night.
"I will not sugarcoat this. This is a very difficult, challenging situation that has come to us unexpectedly in Denver," Hancock told Denver7 in an interview Thursday morning. "We didn't know the migrants were coming our way, but I'm awfully proud of the city employees of the city of Denver, our emergency operations system in the city of Denver."
City asking for the community’s help to deal with influx of migrants
Over the weekend, Denver officials called on churches, nonprofits, and businesses to help provide more shelter space and announced a location where donations can be dropped off.
If you’d like to help, officials said these are the items most urgently needed:
- New men’s underwear
- New women’s underwear
- New women’s sports bras
- 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)
- Winter coats and pullovers (men’s, women’s, children, and infants)
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.
Churches, nonprofits, or businesses interested in helping can email the emergency operations center at EOC_Liason@denvergov.org or at email@example.com.
Upcharge fee at all city rec centers to be waived
On Wednesday, city officials also said they recognized that their efforts to help these migrants, who Mayor Michael Hancock said are asylum-seekers and refugees, cause an inconvenience to residents who utilize the city’s recreation centers.
“For this reason, members who are impacted can visit any recreation center and the upcharge fee will be waived,” city officials said in the release.
Rec center members can contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.