DENVER (KDVR) — Mayor Michael Hancock declared a state of emergency on Thursday, saying the city is close to a “breaking point” because of the sheer number of people coming from the southern border.
More than 900 have arrived in the past several months. and more are coming every day. With several shelters already at capacity, Hancock said more spaces are needed to house migrants.
“So let me be frank. This influx of migrants, the unanticipated nature of their arrival and our current space and staffing challenges have put an immense strain on city resources to the level where they are on the verge of reaching a breaking point,” Hancock said.
The mayor said the declaration was needed to help prevent a humanitarian crisis. The order could, among other things, help get financial assistance quicker. An estimated $800,000 have been spent helping the migrants so far.
The mayor said shelter space, volunteers and clothing are needed badly.
‘Well over’ capacity after Denver migrant arrivals
At the Denver Samaritan House, run by Catholic Charities, 45 migrants are being housed.
“We are well over our capacity,” said Mike Sinnet, vice president of shelters for Catholic Charities. “We are using every square inch of the building that we can. We are just trying to take care of the families that come to us and help them with their journey.”
Employee offices, the recreation room and emergency overflow areas are all now being used by immigrants in a whole new world.
“I think there are a lot of questions (migrants are asking). Where am I? What’s going to happen? I want to connect. What’s going to go on?” said Orlando Padilla Jr, Catholic Charities Denver shelter executive director.
Spanish-speaking volunteers are badly needed and so are clothes, like those being collected by a group called the Papagayo organization. FOX31 found volunteers separating and organizing clothes that will be sent to shelters.
“It really does make me emotional. It’s important for us to do in getting these clothes to families that need supplies,” Denver Latino Commission volunteer David Olguin said.
The mayor said Thursday most of the migrants are coming from the area of El Paso, Texas, and in order to continue receiving them, there must be more space and volunteers.