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  • Writer's pictureVoces Unidas de las Montañas

How to help the unhoused Latino group in Carbondale

Update as of Wednesday, November 22.

On behalf of all of us at Voces Unidas, thank you for the overwhelming show of support from local residents, businesses, nonprofits and government.

Since news broke of the 80 unhoused Latinos living under the Carbondale bridge, Voces Unidas has been able to mobilize several nonprofits, the Town of Carbondale and other regional governments to coordinate support and begin to address critical needs while also planning for long-term solutions.

We know many people want to help. We will update this blog with new information and more specifics as needs arise.

New arrivals and total population size

The total number of newcomers is now estimated at 125. A total of 78 people have registered with Voces Unidas.

Minors and families

Families keep arriving. We have documented at least 8 minors. All minors came with at least one parent. Most families have been temporarily housed in a hotel. This is a temporary arrangement. Long-term housing is still needed.

Please contact Irene Wittrock at to check on any immediate needs for families.

Shelter capacity

The Carbondale shelter at the community center is at capacity (60 people).

About 60-70 people sleep indoors every night in cots or on the floor. The rest of the group continues to report sleeping in cars or in area hotels when they can afford it.

The current shelter does not have access to showers or a kitchen.

Voces Unidas is looking to the Town of Carbondale and regional governments to help identify temporary shelters with access to running water, bathrooms, showers, and at least refrigeration.

Hot meals coordination

Hot meals have been confirmed for the week and weekend.

If your group/organization wants to support with a hot meal, please contact Irene Wittrock at to schedule and coordinate.

Dinner service must serve at least 30-40 adults between the hours of 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Breakfast must be served between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. as most in the group leave to find work early in the morning.

The temporary shelter does not have a kitchen or kitchen supplies. There is no storage or refrigeration. The organization must bring plates and utensils and must be able to take back leftovers.

Food donations

We can take bottled water and ready-to-eat food items that do not require refrigeration, preparation or can openers/kitchen utensils.

The families being placed in hotels also need access to food. We need nonprofits that specialize in food to support them in their new communities.

Contact Irene Wittrock at to coordinate.

Clothing, and winter gear donations

This past weekend several groups and churches partnered to help outfit most of the individuals with casual and winter clothing and shoeware. It was a great success!

Please continue to make clothing donations to your local church or organization and let them know that you intended it for the Carbondale group.

We will continue to coordinate additional days for churches and organizations to bring their clothing, shoes and jackets to the temporary shelter.

Thanks for your understanding. We are trying to coordinate a better system to receive clothing donations. We want to prevent receiving too many items that the group may not need. We do not have storage to keep items that the group does not need.

There is no drop box as the group is still in a temporary shelter without storage.

Please contact Irene Wittrock at with additional questions.

Long-term housing

Everyone in the group is looking for permanent housing. Many of them already work and have income to pay rent. Because they are new to the state and community, many won't have credit history, utility bills or references. If you have a room or a place for rent, please contact Irene Wittrock at with additional questions.

Several members of the community have offered space in their own homes or a spare bedroom for a temporary arrangement. Voces Unidas has yet to place anyone in a private home. We are still looking for a nonprofit that specializes or has experience managing these type of arrangements to see if they would like to coordinate these offers.

Charitable donations

We encourage those looking to help to make a charitable donation to any of the organizations responding to the crisis.

Voces Unidas has activated its Emergency Assistance Fund to support the immediate response and coordination needs as well as provide some direct assistance in the form of city market cards and other needs. You can donate to our Emergency Assistance Fund here.

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