Denver to Cut Migrant Services, Close Four Shelters to Save Millions

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Mike Johnston, the Mayor of Johnston, says that a shelter is closing every week for the next month to cut the budget by $60M

Denver Mayor warns that city is “very close” to a “breaking point” with the migrant surge

Lawrence Jones with Denver Mayor Mike Johnston in an exclusive interview, discussed the migrant crisis that has hit Colorado’s city.

Denver Mayor Mike Johnston said Wednesday that the city will reduce migrant services, consolidate shelters, and save millions of dollars.

Johnston announced at a press event that over the next few weeks, one shelter would close every week. The closures are expected to reduce the city’s current budget deficit of nearly $60 million, and the funds will be reallocated back into services.

Johnston, however, warned that the closure plan could change if there is a massive influx of migrants and the city needs to expand its shelters and services.

Johnston said shelters will close, but no one will be thrown out. Instead, they will be moved to another facility.

A migrant sleeps on a sleeping pad in a Denver, Colorado makeshift shelter.

“We are putting the infrastructure in place to be able to manage what we will need if this [another surge] occurs,” Johnston stated that the plan was to keep shelters closed and to move away from an open hotel system for housing.

Johnston, who has been cutting budgets in city departments for the past few months to cover the cost of migrant services, made this latest announcement. The mayor announced on Feb. 9 that recreation centers would have reduced hours and the Denver Motor Vehicle offices would be closing in stages. This was part of a $5 million reduction.

The City of Denver is trying not to use the term “layoffs” when it comes to impending budget cuts. Instead, they are telling hourly on-call workers that their hours may be reduced to zero,” reported local NBC affiliate 9News.

The city is planning to reduce funding of $4.3 million from its Parks and Recreations department and put that money toward the migrant crisis, which has put a strain on the city’s limited resources.

Venezuelan migrants waiting in line at a Denver migrant processing center to receive paperwork for admission to shelters.

He told 9News that “the reduction in the hours of operation and the programs will impact the number of on-call hours many people work, to the point some may not get any hours.” The final decision on the hours of any particular position has not yet been made.

According to the Department, city employees who are being cut are “on-call employees,” including lifeguards and coaches as well as front desk staff.

The statement went on to say that “the number of hours an individual works as an on-call can vary by individual and season.” Some on-calls may support multiple functions while others might only teach one course all year.

Mike Johnston, the mayor of Denver, announced significant budget cuts to better address Denver’s migrant crisis.

Johnston had predicted earlier this year that the migrant crises would cost the city about $180 million. He said that the current situation was unsustainable and called for lawmakers to work together in Washington.

The city has so far supported 38,861 migrants at a cost close to $58 million.

The city acknowledged that federal and state funding had been provided, but that was not enough.