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Denver publishes guide to assist other cities in welcoming migrant newcomers

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Denver officials have recently released a comprehensive “how to guide” designed to help other cities across the country navigate the challenges of providing housing, health care, and other services for migrants. This 15-step “playbook” outlines best practices and procedures for integrating newcomers into local communities, recognizing the strain that the surge of migrants has put on city resources. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has had to make budget cuts, including slashing $8.4 million from the Denver Police Department budget, in order to accommodate the influx of migrants.

The guide offers practical advice on how cities can assist migrants, including providing shelter, transportation assistance, and access to essential services like food, clothing, medical care, and legal advice. It emphasizes the importance of establishing intake centers, information databases, and Spanish-speaking staff to support migrants effectively. The guide also suggests creating a city budget to track expenditures and monitor funding, ensuring that resources are allocated appropriately.

Denver officials hope that the “Newcomers Playbook: A Guide to Welcoming Newcomers into Your City” will equip other localities with the tools they need to support migrants, regardless of how they entered the country. By providing information on rapid housing assistance, work authorization applications, and innovative programs like the “Denver Asylum Seekers Program,” cities can help newcomers resettle and thrive. The program offers housing assistance for up to six months, language instruction, career exploration, and work-based learning opportunities.

In response to budget constraints, Denver officials have made significant cuts and adjustments to fund migrant aid and housing. Mayor Johnston announced that nearly $46 million would be slashed from the budget to support a $90 million package for migrant assistance for the remainder of the year. These measures include reductions in funding for the Denver Police Department and other city services, as well as a plea for property owners to house migrants in need of shelter.

The release of the manual coincided with a video in which Denver official Andres Carrera informed migrants that the city’s shelters could no longer accommodate them and advised them to seek assistance in other cities like New York or Chicago. The guide’s emphasis on providing comprehensive support, including housing, health care, and legal assistance, reflects Denver’s commitment to helping migrants integrate into local communities and access the resources they need to thrive. As cities across the country grapple with similar challenges, the “Newcomers Playbook” offers a blueprint for effective and compassionate response to the migrant crisis.

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