DENVER (KDVR) — Hundreds of migrants are being discharged from city-funded shelters in Denver, but many others are still living in them.

Many migrants FOX31 has spoken to are desperate to get out on their own and earn a living without breaking the law. One mother, Abdiel Araujo, has a 10-month-old baby, and her family has days left in a shelter.

Araujo came to Denver with her husband and child. The three have been living in a shelter, but her experience has her wanting a new life — one that won’t be easy to get.

“I would prefer to leave the shelter sooner rather than later,” Araujo said.

Abdiel Araujo holds a baby as they stand next to tents
Abdiel Araujo stands next to tents where she and her family could soon be living after they are dismissed from city-funded shelters. (Rogelio Mares, KDVR)

The other option is finding a job, earning a living and moving into a home, something Araujo and her family are eager to do.

“I’d love to move into an apartment or a house, but the rents in Denver are sky high,” Araujo said.

Work permit process arduous for migrants

That option might be more difficult to achieve because the family still has to go through the work permit process, a lengthy and tedious process that could last months.

As for life in the shelter, Araujo said city inspectors often come to her family’s door.

“One of the city employees doing inspections found me crying and asked if my husband had hit me,” Araujo said. “I was crying because my son was sick from the cold weather.”

The family, Araujo said, is not even allowed to bring their own food into their shelter room.

“They make us throw any outside food away, or they just take it away,” Araujo said.

Denver responds about migrant shelter claims

The city of Denver provided some clarification about why this is done: Migrants are allowed to bring shelf-stable snacks into their rooms, but perishable foods are not allowed.

The city said the rooms do not have mini-fridges, and food gone bad is a health and safety concern.

Regarding inspections of migrants’ rooms, the city said the latest is done at 8 p.m. and later inspections are only done in cases of emergencies, like domestic violence, in which case guests are asked to leave with a 24-hour notice.

All of this could be a distant memory, Araujo said, if her family could start earning their own keep. But competition for jobs proves to be another obstacle.

“It isn’t too often that Venezuelans are given jobs. Most jobs are given to Mexicans,” Araujo said.