DENVER (KDVR) — Dozens of migrants are arriving in Denver each night, adding to a total of more than 3,600 migrants served by the city in less than a month.
Saying resources are stressed to the max, Denver officials are calling on neighboring cities, counties and churches to step up. At Denver’s first city council meeting on Tuesday, Councilwoman Amanda Sandoval made a plea for help.
“Denver cannot be the only ones who are shouldering this responsibility,” Sandoval said.
Denver council seeks help for migrant arrivals
Denver City Council approved $1.5 million in state funding for Denver’s emergency migrant response. However, as of Dec. 31, the city spent $1,144,032 on the response. Denver is projecting to spend approximately $3 million over the next few months.
“I don’t think that there’s an end in sight, and we need to activate other types of resources to make sure that we are not the only county carrying this big burden for the nation,” Sandoval said.
Gov. Jared Polis said Tuesday that the state allocated $5 million specifically for assistance with the migrant response.
“About half of the $5 million has been allocated, and only a fraction of that has been spent,” Polis said. “That was open to any city in Colorado. Denver was the only city to put in for those funds.”
Sandoval and Polis are also calling for federal help.
“I think it’s important we have a national coordinated approach to this, and I really hope the Biden administration steps up and shows some leadership in this area, particularly around provisional work permits,” Polis said.
FOX31 reached out to a number of cities and counties in the metro area asking whether they have plans to assist. Here are the responses received so far.
Aurora wholeheartedly embraces its culturally rich and diverse community by maximizing its existing resources as efficiently as possible. However, the resources are not limitless.
Additionally, the city is not structured like the counties that are funded to provide health and human services. Denver is, of course, a city and a county.
We continue to seek information from our counties and the state on any resources and services they currently have, or intend to add, to provide the humanitarian assistance needed to assist the migrants who arrived in Denver over the last couple weeks. We also continue to work closely with our community partners.
Counties such as Denver are the level of government that provide social and human services and receive the state and federal funding for those kinds of services. Given that, the city would look to Jefferson County for providing any requested assistance, and we would determine whether there is any support Lakewood could provide to Jefferson County in its response to a request for assistance.
The City of Centennial continues to work with Arapahoe County and the Office of Emergency Management to monitor the situation. There are no plans to activate at this time.
The city does operate the Littleton Immigrant Resources Center which provides limited services to documented immigrants. Here is a link to their website. As a smaller city, we do not have extensive resources to provide for migrants and asylum seekers such as housing.
Jefferson County is monitoring the situation, evaluating resources and partnerships with no specific plans of activation at this time.
City of Boulder and Boulder County
We are aware that our neighbors in Denver have seen a significant number of migrant arrivals over the past few weeks and have declared a state of emergency. Through the Boulder Office of Disaster Management, which is co-funded by Boulder County and the City of Boulder, we are providing support to Denver’s sheltering operations. This includes a half-time staff person who is focusing on providing recruitment, training and background checks for volunteers, and some county human services staff who have worked shifts at Denver shelters. We also are working closely with our partners at the State of Colorado and in other counties to monitor the situation as it unfolds and to determine how best to identify additional support for Denver.
We recognize that the migrant community is experiencing complex, difficult and challenging circumstances beyond what we are able to imagine. We are committed to supporting our local partners, fellow municipal and county governments and nonprofit organizations as they work to provide resources during this international humanitarian crisis.
Arapahoe County commissioners share the growing concern with the influx of migrants into Colorado and its impact on cities and counties. Commissioners are grateful that the State is assuming coordination for the intake, processing and transportation of these migrants and are thankful to the City and County of Denver and nonprofit partners that have helped these individuals and families over the past several weeks.
The County is working with its network of providers to assist as possible, yet many nonprofits and community programs are at capacity with record cold in December and January.
Commissioners are working with county and state leaders to identify possible solutions to this crisis, including regional approaches. Funding remains the biggest hurdle for these efforts, as Federal and state funds are constrained by statute and prevent the county from serving undocumented migrants.
Any assistance would then fall to the County’s General Fund, which is constrained by higher demands for service due to COVID, inflation, and the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) cap.
Commissioners recognize the uniqueness of this challenge and the opportunity it presents for Colorado and the federal government to find collaborative solutions that provide humanitarian relief while protecting limited local resources.
How to help migrants in Denver
Donations can be made to the Denver Community Church, American Friends Service Committee or the Colorado Hosting Asylum Network. The city is also asking faith-based nonprofit groups and other community groups for help with the latest increase of migrants, financially and physically.
Anyone interested in volunteering needs to be registered and credentialed.
The city established a drop-off location for physical donations, run by Papagayo, at Iglesia Ciudad de Dios located at 5255 W. Warren Ave.