The City and County of Denver may buy the Quality Inn Hotel on Zuni, where the city currently is housing migrants from the southern border.
Council member Flor Alvidrez referenced the purchase Sept. 13 during a town hall in her district with Mayor Mike Johnston. The pair discussed the mayor’s House1000 plan.
One person asked how the city plans to keep up with housing migrants and people experiencing homelessness at the same time. Alvidrez responded the migrants and the unhoused populations often have very different challenges, so they usually are not housed together. She mentioned the city may buy the Quality Inn on Zuni, which served as a protective action hotel during the pandemic.
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless directly leased rooms from the Quality Inn to house people at risk for catching the virus. But the hotel closed last year as a protective action facility.
Since then, the city has leased rooms from the hotel to house migrants arriving in Denver from the southern border. Since ending an emergency declaration over the migrant arrivals in Denver, the city has seen another uptick, with most immigrants fleeing the civil war in Venezuela. “Governor Abbot is sending more buses, he thinks this is cute politically,” Johnston said.
Johnston said that if federal officials want to put migrants through the process of seeking asylum, they should allow them to work during then process for as long as it takes. Johnston said the number one thing he hears when he visits the migrants is that they want a job. Johnston said CEOs have told him they could hire hundreds of migrants at a time because they have so much work. But migrants must have documentation to legally work.
On Sunday, 157 migrants arrived in Denver, according to the city’s online dashboard tracking migrants. On Saturday, 124 arrived.
These updates put the total number of migrants served by Denver to more than 18,000. Almost 1,200 immigrants are housed in non-city buildings, according to the dashboard. The number of migrants arriving has been trending up the past several weeks.
“Some of the migrants are getting around on bikes which I think it really great,” Alvidrez said.