Denver is experiencing a new surge of migrants coming to Denver, with hundreds arriving each day.
This new uptick aligns closely with the expiration of Title 42, which allowed U.S. officials to turn back migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border in the name of protecting public health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its expiration, more immigrants who are seeking asylum can enter the country.
To help support those arriving in the metro area, the Arapahoe County Commission donated $10,000 to the Newcomers Fund, a fund philanthropy organization, Rose Community Foundation.
County commissioners voted 4-0 to approve the donation, with Commissioner Jeff Baker absent during the recent meeting.
“The city of Denver has really carried the burden of this issue, in excess of several million dollars,” said District 5 Commissioner Bill Holen. “I would propose that we authorize this disbursement of $10,000 directly to the fund to help in terms of the humanitarian needs of these immigrants, many of whom barely have the clothes on their back.”
Rose Community Foundation started the Newcomers Fund in December 2022 to address the needs of migrants arriving in Denver. Since then, over 10,000 people have come to the area, seeking asylum and safety.
“(The fund is) really meant to just mobilize philanthropic dollars for people who want to support incoming newcomers and migrant arrivals,” said Katie Peshek, communications director at Rose Community Foundation. “To deploy that money as efficiently and quickly as we can to the local nonprofits on the ground who are doing this work, day in and day out.”
Rose Community Foundation makes grant decisions with a steering committee including representatives from the City and County of Denver, the State of Colorado, The Denver Foundation, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, and Mile High United Way, according to its website.
Specifically, they offer funding to nonprofits that provide access to shelter, food and clothing, medical care, workforce and employment, translation, transportation, and childcare for newcomers.
To date, the fund has raised about half a million dollars and has granted most of it to nonprofit organizations that address these needs.
Peshek said the latest spike in arrivals has shown that the city and state funding is not enough to meet the needs of everyone who is arriving.
“I think it really does take a community approach to support these newcomers,” she said. “It really does require all government, foundations and philanthropy, nonprofits that all really (work) together — that it's not an issue that can be well-addressed by one without the others.”
The Arapahoe County commissioners’ donation came from their social services fund balance, where they are keeping some money in case the county later realizes more local needs as the migrant crisis continues.
In the meantime, however, they decided to contribute what they could to support Denver.
“This feels like what we can responsibly do right now, although nothing feels like it’s enough,” said District 2 Commissioner Jessica Campbell-Swanson. “This gives us some flexibility in case we need to respond here in the county.”
Holen said he hopes the county’s action will also inspire support from other metro counties.
“Allowing these funds to go forward, we could be an example or a leader that may have an impact on convincing some of the other metropolitan counties to contribute to this program,” he said.
Peshek said the fund has received donations from across Colorado — and even across the country. She encourages and appreciates everyone who has supported them thus far.
“As Denver has continued to grow, more issues faced by the metro are really regional issues and are faced by surrounding counties, municipalities as well,” she said. “So, seeing the support from a neighboring county to engage on this effort and help support these nonprofits that are on the ground, I mean, I think it's incredible.”
Donors and nonprofit organizations can learn more about the fund, how to donate and how to apply for a grant at https://rcfdenver.org/nonprofits-and-grants/what-we-fund/newcomers-fund/.