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Colorado Drowning Under Huge Influx of Migrants; Johnston Says City is ‘Out of Space’

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has sounded the alarm on the city’s housing crisis, citing an overflow of migrants and a shortage of shelter space.

As Denver contends with what’s been described as the largest per-capita surge of migrants in the U.S., concerns about resources and budget deficits have come to the forefront.

Migrant Discharges Begin

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This week, Denver initiated a process to relocate migrant families, marking the beginning of a multi-week effort to address the housing crisis.

800 Families Turned Back

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With over 120 migrant families affected initially and potentially 800 families in total, Denver has already spent over $42 million on addressing the surge.

Concerns About Budget Deficits

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Mayor Johnston’s office highlighted the strain on city resources, indicating a potential budget deficit of up to $180 million to cover sheltering costs.

Need For Federal Aid

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Jordan Fuja, Johnston’s press secretary, emphasized the need for federal support to prevent significant budget cuts and scale back sheltering services.

Appeal to Federal Government

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Mayor Johnston, along with Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, has called on the federal government for additional aid to address the surge.

Expedited Work Authorization

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Their efforts aim to secure expedited work authorization for migrants, a coordinated entry plan, and increased funding for cities managing the crisis.

Financial Strain on the City

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Laura Swartz from the Denver Department of Finance revealed that the city is tapping into contingency reserves to subsidize migrant-related costs.

However, these funds are projected to only cover expenses until April, prompting concerns about long-term financial sustainability.

City’s Response and Accommodations

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Denver is operating seven migrant shelters and partnering with local organizations to provide housing and support services.

Migrant families are being accommodated in various ways, including referrals to nonprofits and the extension of travel tickets to other cities and states.

Challenges Faced by Local Churches

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Local churches, such as Denver Friends Church, are also providing assistance to migrants.

Pastor Keith Reeser highlighted the challenges of accommodating an increasing number of migrants while navigating fire code regulations and resource limitations.

Struggles of Migrants

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Denise Chang, executive director of Colorado Hosting Asylum, underscored the challenges faced by migrants, including lengthy wait times for visas and court dates.

While her organization typically assists migrants who have been in the country for some time, the surge in arrivals poses additional difficulties.

Community Support and Limitations

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Despite facing capacity constraints, Denver’s community organizations and volunteers continue to provide essential services to migrants.

However, resource limitations and regulatory requirements impose constraints on their ability to accommodate all those in need.

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