DENVER (KDVR) — Tuesday marked another cold night for folks living in encampments, whose numbers have grown as migrants time out of their stay at city-funded shelters.
Many of the migrants bused into Denver come from a climate where they have never experienced severe cold or large amounts of snow. But now they are forced to get used to living in tents during the cold weather.
The city of Denver housed them for several weeks, but the migrants have no other housing options after being bused here. With little recourse, families are surviving as best they can.
One mother, who asked not to be identified, is living in a tent with her husband and three children, who are 8, 10 and 12 years old.
“Our family likes the city, and we would prefer to stay here if we can,” the mother said.
Like other families, they arrived in Denver during the change of season, where elements are like none they’ve ever seen before.
“At night, when it gets cold, we sleep with multiple layers on to stay warm,” the mother said.
Another migrant, Juan Carlos, is living in a tent with his wife and their toddler. They have been outside for several days after timing out of city-funded shelters.
“The people inside, they say they want to help, but just yesterday they called upstairs and they said to our family, ‘You can go tonight, you can sleep there, but in the morning you guys have to be outside,'” Carlos said.
It’s a nightly gamble for the family, where they do whatever possible to stay warm, hoping no one succumbs to the weather.
“I think I just have to cover with all the blankets that I have, and that’s it,” Carlos said. “I cannot do anything more.”
His family can brave the elements while they’re all healthy, Carlos said, but in wet, wintery weather, there is a fine line between staying healthy and falling ill.
“I have the child,” Carlos said. “The child is 2 years old, I don’t want him to be sick. That’s the problem — if he’s sick, the medicine, where will I go?”
All the migrant families have now is each other and their strength of will.
“The situation is this,” Carlos said. “So we have to just keep going.”
The city of Denver said while the weather remains above 20 degrees, there are less than 2 inches of snowfall or if there’s no wind chill advisory, officials will not activate their cold weather shelter plan. None of those weather patterns are forecasted.