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Denver pleads with property owners to rent to migrant 'newcomers'

The city of Denver is asking local property owners to house some of its illegal migrants who need a place to stay since it is closing several shelters

The city of Denver is shutting several of its migrant shelters and officials are asking local property owners to house some of the "newcomers" who need a place to stay.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston recently announced that the city has started to scale back its migrant services with the goal of reducing the current budget deficit by nearly $60 million and reallocating those funds back into city services. The move sees shelters being shuttered and existing shelters consolidated.

Jon Ewing, with Denver Human Services, told Fox 31 that the city is looking for alternative ways to house its illegal immigrants.


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

Fox 31 reports that the city recently emailed Denver rental property owners asking if they would be interested in renting to migrants who need housing.

"We’ve got kind of a rent cap — $2,000," Ewing said.

He said the effort is being supported by locally operating non-profits who have already connected migrants with various forms of housing, with thousands making their way out of shelters. 

"We’re at below 1,800 right now, which is the first time that number’s been that low since September," Ewing said.

That number was as high as 4,500 people as recently as January. Before, migrants were posting on social media in search of a home.

"A lot of those posts have now been replaced by, hey, I now need to furnish my apartment, what do I do? And so it’s a good problem to have when that’s what you’re running into," Ewing said.

Ewing said the city has been able to get many of the migrants work permits, so they can earn an income and pay their way for accommodation.

"1,300 people right now, over the last two weeks or so, that we’ve been able to help get their work permits," Ewing said. "That’s a huge step."


The move comes after a Massachusetts couple last month volunteered to take in illegal immigrants and was surprised when a family of four showed up at the doorstep less than an hour after signing up.
Earlier this year, Johnston predicted that the migrant crisis would cost the city around $180 million. He previously told Fox News that the city was "very close" to a breaking point due to the crisis and announced the city was cutting $5 million from public services while pinning the blame on Republicans and former President Donald Trump. 

The city has supported 38,861 migrants from the southern border at a cost of nearly $58 million so far, Fox 31 reported. Venezuelans make up the vast majority of those that have arrived in the city since 2023, according to the Colorado Sun.

The sanctuary city has been struggling to stretch its limited resources to support the growing number of migrants there. Texas has transported thousands of migrants to sanctuary cities like Denver, to showcase the problems that border states face when migrants flood their cities. 

The influx of migrants has also put the city’s health system at a breaking point with about 8,000 illegal immigrants recording about 20,000 visits to Denver Health last year, receiving services such as emergency room treatment, primary care, dental care and childbirth. 

Denver passed laws to become a sanctuary city, but it doesn't include a right-to-shelter provision, which means there is no official policy that compels the local government to provide shelter indefinitely. 

Fox News’ Stepheny Price, Gabriel Hays and  Alba Cuebas-Fantauzzi contributed to this report. 

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