We would like to thank Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper along with Colorado U.S. Representatives Jason Crow, Joe Neguse, Diana DeGette, Yadira Caraveo, and Brittany Pettersen for their recent efforts urging the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase its support for communities and nonprofits assisting new arrivals in Colorado.
As of December 2023, Denver alone spent over $33 million to meet the humanitarian needs of more than 36,000 new arrivals in the last year. This has included sheltering 3,100 migrants – approximately 1,200 of whom are children. Our rural mountain towns have been drastically impacted, including Carbondale, where Voces Unidas has provided assistance to some 150 new arrivals primarily from Venezuela.
“Colorado has experienced a significant influx of migrants in recent months, which is placing considerable strain on state and local government resources and nonprofit organizations. These partners are at the forefront of providing essential services to migrants and are in dire need of additional support,” Bennet, Hickenlooper, Crow, and the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to FEMA leadership on Dec. 22. “Buses bringing migrants into our state are now a daily occurrence, and we are seeing a growing trend of migrants initially arriving in Denver and then moving into other communities across Colorado... Unfortunately, to this point, the cost of temporary housing, food, transportation, and other necessities has largely fallen on Colorado taxpayers.”
In their letter, the lawmakers call on FEMA to increase funding for its Shelter and Services Program (SSP), expand the program’s eligibility to include more cities and nonprofit organizations, and provide technical assistance to communities setting up programs to support new arrivals – especially for communities in rural areas of Colorado.
“Once they arrive, migrants turn to local communities and nonprofits in search of refuge and assistance. However, the capacity of these organizations to provide adequate support is stretched thin,” continued the lawmakers. “The situation in Colorado reflects a broader national challenge. As such, it is imperative that FEMA responds proactively to ensure that all communities facing similar crises have the opportunity to apply for and receive adequate support.”
Visit www.vocesunidas.org to learn more about our work in the central-mountain region.