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Denver’s food bill on feeding migrants skyrockets

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(The Center Square) – In December 2023, the city of Denver agreed to a $100,000 contract to feed incoming migrants with Colorado Hospitality Services.

After a year, that contract was increased to $475,000 in January 2024. Then, the city had to pay another $450,000 in February 2024.

Now, Denver City Council is looking at another $500,000 to pay for food costs through June, raising the total to $1.4 million.

The city is facing the same issue with the other food provider for migrants that was contracted. Michaels of Denver Catering, Inc., started out with a $500,000 contract to feed the incoming migrants in May 2023. That increased to $1 million in October. Now, the city will review another $350,000 that will cover the costs through June.

“Due to the sustained high volume of newcomers, the current purchase order is exhausted and we are seeking to increase it again,” the city stated in a memo to the council explaining the reason for skyrocketing costs.

Denver has continued to receive an influx of migrants, with nearly 40,000 arriving in the city over the past year due to its status as a sanctuary city, and the cost is continuing to grow.

Since the beginning of the migrant crisis, the city has served 39,605 migrants and asylum-seekers. Still, it faces a growing deficit as Denver continues to receive newcomers and offers food, shelter, and other services.

The city continues to shelter 1,150 individuals while phasing out some services this week by closing one of five hotel shelters currently in use.

Denver recently received a $3.5 million reimbursement from the state of Colorado and a $1.6 million advancement from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, with $12.2 million in potential federal reimbursements currently pending, according to a Mar. 18, 2024 update from the city.

Denver currently faces a nearly $60 million budget deficit, and Denver Mayor Mike Johnston has said for the city to maintain current services that are provided for migrants, it would cost taxpayers well over $100 million over the next year, as previously reported by The Center Square.

While the continued influx of migrants come at a cost of more than $61 million, resources for feeding those in the shelters are running low, and the city is looking to amend two contracts at the city council meeting on March 20.

The city of Denver did not reply to email seeking comment.

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