How the Denver community is rallying together to help support migrants
What's happening: The community is rallying together to bridge the resource gap.
- Numerous Facebook groups, largely run by local women, are actively working to raise money, organize meal trains, gather winter clothing and coordinate toy drives.
- Some people have launched GoFundMe accounts, including Lisa Wimberger, who has raised more than $63,000 and helped a dozen families find housing.
- Stanley Marketplace in Aurora is hosting a new pop-up program for Venezuelan migrants to showcase their skills and help them raise money while they navigate employment barriers.
- Students and professors at the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) are offering aid and advocating to local leaders on migrants' behalf.
What they're saying: "We're working as hard as we can to try to meet the immediate needs of the people who are here … but it's not sustainable," says Jennifer Greenfield, associate dean for doctoral education at GSSW.
- "Our systems are not set up for these individuals who are crossing the border to find success here," she tells us.
Between the lines: Some of the community's efforts have been thwarted by the city.
- For example, when Denver officials cleared a massive encampment earlier this month, they destroyed the majority of the hundreds of tents and sleeping bags that community members had paid out of pocket to provide.
- "We were only able to reclaim 29 tents … so we're having to go back to the store to buy things to replace what was lost," Greenfield tells us.
The bottom line: More coordination with local leaders "is needed to understand that when the city has run out of resources and no longer has funds for things like tents and food, [Denverites] are stepping up and providing … but we need the city to then protect those investments," Greenfield says.
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