Denver releases 'playbook' to help other cities accommodate migrant 'newcomers'

Denver officials recently released a “how to guide” to help other cities across the country splash taxpayer cash on housing, health care and other services for migrants.

The 15-step “playbook,” which describes migrants as “newcomers” in its first paragraph, lays out several ways other cities can manage the crisis by outlining best practices and procedures for integrating migrants into local communities.

The surge of migrants has strained city resources and forced Denver Mayor Mike Johnston to cut millions from the budget in order to accommodate them. 

For instance, the Denver Police Department budget is being slashed by roughly $8.4 million, or 1.9%, Fox News confirmed. The city’s fire department will also face a budget reduction.

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“Our efforts include helping people with onward travel as needed, offering temporary shelter, facilitating the search for permanent housing, and providing vital support in terms of medical and mental health, work authorization, legal assistance, school enrollment, and more,” the guide’s introduction reads.

The guide provides cities with information on how officials can provide shelter, offer “onward transportation,” and set up intake centers where migrants can get access to free food, clothing, medical care and legal advice.

Other tips include setting up information databases on new arrivals, the importance of having Spanish-speaking staff working with migrants, and establishing a city budget that will track expenditures and monitor funding.

Johnston says the manual, called the “Newcomers Playbook: A Guide to Welcoming Newcomers into Your City,” provides other localities with the tools they need to help migrants “regardless of how they entered the country.”

“We’re proud this playbook will help newcomers resettle in cities with more opportunities, help cities across the country successfully welcome newcomers and reinvigorate workforces,” Johnston said in a statement announcing the document late last month.

He said Denver has been a “national leader” on the topic, having taken in around 42,000 migrants and provided them with essential services and resources.

The guide explains that it refers to migrants as “newcomers” in order to recognize that the border crossers are “new to our city and embracing a more inclusive language.”

Other areas of the document advise cities to create a “newcomer monetary fund through a foundation,” provide “rapid housing assistance,” and help migrants with work authorization applications. 

The guide also suggests cities bring in shower trailers and laundry trucks if such services are not available on-site.

It goes on to tout a newly created “Denver Asylum Seekers Program” for 1,000 people currently in the city’s migrant shelter facilities.

“We will connect newcomers to housing assistance options for up to six months from the date of their asylum application. Additionally, newcomers will be connected with an innovative pre-work authorization readiness program called ‘WorkReady,’” the document reads. 

“They will be able to collaborate with case managers to ensure they are moving on the right track and be connected with workforce training opportunities via partnership with nonprofits, local businesses, educational institutions and training organizations.”

The program also includes access to language instruction, career pathway exploration, industry-recognized credential training and work-based learning opportunities.

In March, city officials pleaded with property owners to “house” migrants after it scaled back some of its migrant services to reduce the budget deficit.

Johnston also announced last month that nearly $46 million would be slashed from the budget to help fund a $90 million package funding migrant aid and housing for the rest of the year, Fox31 reported.

The release of the manual came just weeks after a Denver official, Andres Carrera, was heard on video telling migrants that the city’s shelters can no longer help them, and they must go to other cities or they “will suffer.”

“The opportunities are over,” Carrera reportedly tells the group in Spanish. “New York gives you more. Chicago gives you more. So I suggest you go there, where there is longer-term shelter. There are also more job opportunities there.” 

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