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Denver asks property owners to rent to illegal migrant ‘newcomers’ following closure of multiple shelters
Denver Mayor Mike Johnston (Photo by Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post)

Denver asks property owners to rent to illegal migrant ‘newcomers’ following closure of multiple shelters

City officials in Denver, Colorado, recently sent an email to property owners, urging them to rent their homes to illegal migrants, KDVR reported Wednesday.

The city is looking for alternative housing options for migrant “newcomers” after unveiling plans to close four shelters as part of a “consolidation” plan that will reportedly save Denver taxpayers $60 million.

On February 28, the city announced “the consolidation of newcomer shelter operations from seven hotels to three by early April as part of the city’s strategy to move newcomers from shelter to stability.” According to Denver, those residing in shelters that are slated for closure will be “relocated to other facilities or stable housing.”

The city promised to “double down” on case management amid the shelter closures. Denver is working with nonprofits to help illegal migrants find alternative housing and jobs.

Mayor Mike Johnston (D) stated that Denver was previously expected to spend $180 million next year on migrant services, but its new plan has dropped the cost down to $120 million, the Colorado Sun reported. Additional cutbacks are expected. According to the mayor, the shelter closures are a “major turning point.”

“This is a major step forward,” Johnston said. “I think there’s more work to be done.”

Jon Ewing with Denver Human Services recently stated that the city has turned to property owners to provide more stable accommodations to migrants.

“We put out a feeler to all the landlords we have connections with,” Ewing stated. “Basically said, listen, we’re going to have some newcomers who are going to need housing.”

He noted that the “rent cap” is $2,000 per month.

“The nonprofits already have connected folks with all kinds of housing, all over Denver,” Ewing remarked.

In January, approximately 4,500 migrants utilized the city’s shelter system. Currently, there are fewer than 1,800 individuals, according to Ewing, who noted the number has not been that low since September. Individuals may reside in the city’s shelter system for up to 14 days, and families with children can stay for up to 42 days.

Over the past year, roughly 40,000 illegal migrants have arrived in Denver. While it is unclear how many of the individuals arriving in the city are opting to stay, Johnston estimates that approximately 40%-60% continue their journey by bus to other destinations.

“Many people, as you know, arrive in Denver never having intended to come to Denver,” he stated. “They just got put on the bus and this was their first stop. And we’re noticing that more folks are now aware of the volume of migrants that Denver has welcomed and that the availability of jobs and housing that had been present six months ago is not as present today.”

Ewing anticipates that the migrants will be able to pay rent on their own once they receive authorization to work.

“1,300 people right now, over the last two weeks or so, that we’ve been able to help get their work permits,” he told KDVR. “That’s a huge step.”

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