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Colorado nonprofit Village Exchange Center hoping for federal funding to help migrants in Aurora

Colorado nonprofit hoping for federal funding to help migrants in Aurora
Colorado nonprofit hoping for federal funding to help migrants in Aurora 02:35

A nonprofit supporting migrants is asking the federal government for help. Earlier this week, news broke that the City of Aurora is considering a resolution to change how it supports migrants. The city says many new migrants are arriving and they don't have the resources to support them. The resolution states that several are being transported by other municipalities, but many migrants are coming to Aurora on their own.

Thousands get support through nonprofits like Village Exchange Center.

Village Exchange Center

 The VEC food pantry once served about 200 families a week. Today that number is over 600.

"With over 36,000 migrants arriving in Denver in the last year, and the numbers not slowing down, Aurora, too, has experienced a notable impact as new arrivals do not see City and County or school district lines," explained Amanda Blaurock, Executive Director of Village Exchange Center.

In November, Denver bussed 400 migrants to an Aurora hotel. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston and Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman later agreed that no migrants would be sent to Aurora going forward.

The support VEC offers migrants, like food and clothing, has many headed to Aurora.

"I just heard a rumor that people in Venezuela were being told to come all the way to Aurora to come to VEC. I don't think that that's true," said Blaurock. "We're not bussing anyone in but we're three blocks or four blocks from the border of Denver. So what has happened is there are people on their own volition who have come into Aurora who are aware that we are a friendly place to serve new immigrants."


Many migrants like Yessica Bastidas, who get resources from VEC, elected to make Aurora their home. She says her husband found work in the city and her family feels comfortable.

"I'm settled here. My daughter studies here. I have people who can help me here," said Yessica. "I don't plan to leave. I feel good here."

VEC need more funding to effectively address the growing needs of migrants in Colorado.

Village Exchange Center is collaborating with state and local leaders to urge FEMA to escalate support for communities and the local nonprofits who support migrants arriving in the Centennial State.

They're urging policymakers to reconsider and open eligibility to both additional cities and nonprofit organizations, including those like the City of Aurora, which has experienced a substantial growth in the number of arriving migrants in recent months.

"I'm constantly looking at what other sources of funding from state to federal to county to private donors and private philanthropy that could actually support this crisis," said Blaurock.

Village Exchange Center says it remains committed to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to address the urgent needs of migrants and ensure the effective allocation of resources.

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