DENVER (KDVR) — Just over a month after Denver police and city crews permanently closed an encampment of homeless individuals near the governor’s mansion, the city says a second encampment has been closed by the city.
The second encampment was located in the Ballpark District, near Broadway Avenue, Curtis Street, 20th Avenue and Arapahoe Street. It was cleared on Nov. 1 and is now “permanently closed to camping,” according to the city.
However, when a FOX31 photojournalist went to the area a week later on Nov. 7 there were people in the area who appeared to be homeless.
The city said it will work with businesses and residents in the area to ensure the area is clear of encampments moving forward.
The city bused 55 people to a hotel shelter and six individuals moved to the Tiny Home Villages operated by the Colorado Village Collaborative.
The city said it aims for this contact to allow for individuals or families experiencing homelessness to use wraparound services, access case management and hopefully gain permanent housing.
The City and County of Denver have been actively working to address homelessness and the increasing number of migrants in the area. The actions are part of Mayor Mike Johnston’s plan to house 1,000 unhoused people by the end of 2023.
According to the mayor’s House1000 Outcomes dashboard, only 210 “housing outcomes” have been reached since July 18. Housing outcomes refer to an individual or family that has been connected with housing or shelter.
“This is another historic moment for Denver,” said Johnston in a release. “We officially permanently closed our second encampment by moving all of the individuals at that encampment indoors. This is another confirmation that we know our strategy works, and we will continue to prioritize this strategy to help 1,000 Denverites get off the street and into safe, stable units.”
Johnston’s plan complicated by migrants
The city has also been sweeping encampments recently, which does not prevent any individuals from returning to the same location later. One encampment of migrants, located near Speer Boulevard and Zuni Street, was swept on Oct. 30 by Denver Police.
The state of Texas announced on Nov. 3 that over 6,600 migrants have been bused to Denver since May 18. The City of Denver reported on Monday that over 26,471 migrants from the southern border have been sheltered in Denver, with about 2,048 migrants currently in Denver shelters. The city said this has cost over $31 million.
On Nov. 1, the same day Denver closed the second encampment, Johnston was in Washington, D.C., with mayors of Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and New York to pressure President Joe Biden into providing federal aid for managing the surge of migrants.
The migrants are also facing issues obtaining work authorizations, which is a major barrier to getting proper housing. Migrants have told FOX31 that they are desperate to find work and create a future for themselves and their children.
The city has received some outside funding for migrants, including a reimbursement award of $3.5 million from the State of Colorado and $909,000 from the federal government. Denver is also anticipating receiving $9 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
How to help as winter arrives
The City of Denver is requesting winter clothing items to help keep shelter residents warm this winter, including hooded sweatshirts, shoes, hats, gloves and scarves. The donation center is located at the Richard T. Castro Human Services Center, but donors are asked to call ahead to 303-514-0643 to schedule a drop-off time.
The Rose Community Foundation has also established the “Newcomers Fund,” which funnels monetary donations to support the incoming migrant population in Colorado. The fund goes toward food, clothing and medical needs as well as emergency shelter, employment opportunities and wraparound support services.
Volunteers are also needed. Individuals and organizations can visit denvergov.org/migrantsupport for more information.