Carolina Montilla is a Venezuelan mom who migrated here to Denver with her three children, ages 9, 11 and 12.
“We went through a jungle, we went through a river, we ran out of food. In one country we were robbed,” Montilla said.
Montilla said her family made it to Texas where they couldn’t find work and begged to get enough money to come to Denver. FOX31 asked why.
“Because we want a future,” she said. “We want to work.”
‘We don’t have anywhere to stay’
The future is uncertain today for Montilla and her children.
“We don’t have anywhere to stay,” she said.
As of Monday, Denver reports it’s sheltered and supported 25,801 migrants from the southern border at a cost of more than $29 million, and some 2,170 people were being sheltered.
The city has recently changed the length of stay to shelter migrants. For families like Montilla’s, the city said they provide 37 days in migrant shelter facilities and then connect them with nonprofits for long-term support.
“Not everything has gone the way people think it would be,” Montilla said. “After the 30 days, the city makes us leave. With the kids. They don’t care if it’s cold.”
For migrants, food banks are a lifeline
Montilla and organizations like Friends of SoDen echo that this is one of many similar stories of struggle.
“Last week, they took a 20-day-old baby out of this camp here,” said Amy Beck, with Friends of SoDen, of an encampment in Denver.
“They’re going to sweep this camp tomorrow,” Beck added. “And so all of these folks will be expected to leave. But also tomorrow, they’ll be turning folks out of the hotel right across the street.”
With no work and no certainty about where to sleep, food banks have become lifelines.
“Thank God there are food banks where they give us food, and sometimes we are able to find clothes there as well,” Montilla said.
Montilla said she’s grateful for anything but hungry for stability: a way to make money, a way to find a more concrete place to lay her head with her children.
“Help us,” she said. “Open the doors.”
FOX31 shared Montilla’s information with the city and officials said they will try to connect her with assistance.
Help wanted for Denver migrant sheltering
The city of Denver is sharing calls for assistance.
Financial donations can be made to the Newcomers Fund. Donations will go directly to the city’s nonprofit partners, who are supporting migrants with resource navigation, shelter and other services.
Donations of essential items are needed, but appointments are encouraged. Before donating, individuals should carefully review the donation instructions, wayfinding tips and maps, which are available at Denvergov.org/MigrantSupport. To schedule a donation drop-off appointment, call (303) 514-0643.