Mural in Denver
Denver spent between $216 million and $340 million to shelter 42,000 asylum seekers who have arrived in Denver over the past year. van de Sande

Denver spent between $216 million and $340 million to shelter migrants who have arrived in the city throughout 2023, according to calculations displayed in a recent report by the Common Sense Institute organization.

The study, titled "Ongoing costs of the migrants in the Denver Metro Region," estimates that that figure was spent in combination by the city of Denver, local school districts and the region's health-care system and destined to shelter, food, clothes, and education for the migrants, as well as emergency medical care.

Since December 2022, Denver has become a major destination for migrants arriving through the southern border. About 42,000 migrants have arrived in the Denver metro area since December 2022, about 1,800 of which have now been authorized to work as a result of city-led efforts, as per the document.

Since December 2022, the Denver metro area's 17 school districts have added 15,725 migrant students, the report highlights. Denver Public Schools saw a growth of 5,322 migrant students, 55% of whom were from Venezuela, Colombia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

At $14,100 in instruction support per student, the total cost to Denver metro schools related to new migrant students ranges between $98 million and $222 million, which would equate to 1-2% of the total state 12th grade (K-12) education budget for the 2024-25 academic year.

Hospitals have also absorbed costs associated with the recent influx of migrants. According to the report, they have spent about $2,931 on care per migrant, for a total estimated budget of $48 million on this area.

Lastly, the city of Denver has spent about $71 million on all support services. These include but are not limited to facilities and hotels for temporary shelter, housing assistance up to six months of rent, transportation, food distribution, and childcare, administered partly by the city and partly by non-profit organizations.

During the height of the migrant influx in January 2024, officials estimated Denver was going to spend $180 million through 2024. With daily arrivals now much lower, the city revised its estimate to a projected $90 million in migrant response spending through 2024.

Over two-thirds of the spending (69%) has been for shelter facilities and personnel, while food and services together represent another 20%. Health services represent the smallest category of migrants spending at 0.1%, the report says.

To fund the response, the City of Denver has made use of federal funding from existing programs, city grant programs, and from cuts to city budget items.

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