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Denver metro area nonprofits shoulder burden of helping migrants when municipalities don't

Nonprofits scrambling for solutions after Denver looks to scale back on funding for migrants
Nonprofits scrambling for solutions after Denver looks to scale back on funding for migrants 03:13

As the City of Denver pulls back shelter resources for the migrant community, and other municipalities share their stance on not providing assistance during the ongoing arrivals, local nonprofit organizations are left with the brunt of the workload.

"I do feel that the situation for migrants is going to get more desperate," said Mateos Alvarez.


It's a prediction Alvarez shares with CBS News Colorado as more and more municipalities make their stance known about how much support they can provide to migrants.

"In the present, we're really kind of trying to figure out how we kind of do more with less resources, especially as the City of Denver scales back," he said.  

Alvarez runs the Dayton Street Day Laborers Center in Adams County, which is part of the larger Aurora Migrant Response Network and Aurora Economic Opportunity Coalition. His nonprofit has been helping incoming migrants get day-to-day work opportunities.

"We got to have jobs ready for folks," said Alvarez.

Similarly, to Aurora's resolution this week, Adams County officials say they have not initiated or have plans to assist with the existing migrant crisis. They also do not expect an influx in demand from the migrant community in their region.

Alvarez however says they have been preparing since last year to expect more on their plate when it comes to providing resources.

Nonprofits shoulder the burden of helping migrants when Denver metro area municipalities fall short.  CBS

"After seeing that first wave [of migrants], we asked for a meeting with all our nonprofit partners in northwest Aurora in the first part of January 2023," he said. "From that point, we initiated the Northwest Aurora Migrant Response Network. Today it's up to 300 different entities that are a part of that network."

He says organizations within the migrant response network have been stepping up applications for temporary protective status, getting migrants into more permanent housing, and now working towards bringing in big companies to hire migrants once they obtain work permits.

"We are setting up a meeting with some of the executives of Amazon for example, as we speak, so it is moving quickly but we're formalizing it as we go," he said.

However, Alvarez says organizations helping the migrant response need more financial resources to meet the demand.

"Making sure we can keep our doors open and be able to continue to do the work that we're doing in the migrant response network and all of these who are a part of our network," he said.

An Adams County spokesperson says there is a House bill they are supporting regarding the migrant response. The bill would provide state funds for community-based organizations to help new visitors.

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