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Denver considering spending $1.4M on new housing program for asylum seekers

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(The Center Square) – The city of Denver is considering spending nearly $1.4 million on case management services through a new program for migrants.

The contract between the city of Denver and ViVe Wellness to provide case management services for migrant families and individuals through the asylum-seeking program is scheduled to be voted on at the city council meeting on Monday.

The city said in an email to The Center Square that ViVe Wellness has been a key partner in the efforts to get newcomers out of shelters and into more sustainable housing.

“While the contract covers other expenses such as rental assistance, case management is absolutely pivotal to achieving positive outcomes,” a spokesperson for the city said. “There is no one size-fits-all approach for this particular group, so it’s very important that newcomers receive one-on-one assistance so we can identify whatever barriers are standing in the way of their success.”

The contract is valid until December 31, 2024, and would assist with rental deposit assistance or pay for traveling for migrants who do not intend to stay in Denver.

Mayor Mike Johnston announced the opening of the program on April 10 in response to the influx of migrants the city has continued to receive. The program is limited to those currently staying in the city’s hotel shelter program or those using bridge housing, and will assist with housing assistance programs for up to six months.

According to the city’s website, as of May 1, the city of Denver had spent almost $70 million on more than 41,000 migrants from the southern border.

The city has budgeted $89.9 million in 2024 on its asylum seeker program and expects 800 migrants to qualify for it initially. Once a claim is filed for asylum, asylum seekers will have to wait 180 days to receive work authorization, after which they will be enrolled in a separate program called WorkReady Denver.

The city is averaging 22 new migrants arriving a day, with 180 migrants arriving since April 11. Denver has also purchased 138 tickets to take migrants elsewhere, according to agenda documents.

As of April 19, there were 705 people in hotel shelters and 35 in short-term shelters.

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