On Tuesday’s broadcast of NPR’s “Morning Edition,” Aspen Public Radio Reporter Halle Zander reported on the town of Carbondale, Colorado, where a surge of migrants has overwhelmed local resources and forced migrants to sleep outside as temperatures drop.
Zander reported on a migrant from Venezuela who went to Carbondale and “joined a group of about 125 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, who were living under a bridge at the entrance to the small town. She’s hopeful she can find stable housing nearby with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s kids.” But “Carbondale doesn’t have many services to support unhoused people. A portion of the local community center is sheltering 60 people, but has had to turn others away almost every night due to lack of capacity. So, many are still sleeping outside in cars and tents. And with temperatures in Colorado’s high country getting much colder…”
She then played a clip of Voces Unidas President and CEO Alex Sanchez stating, “That’s not going to be a viable shelter. It is winter. It is Colorado. People will die.”
Zander added, “Local organizations say they were already strapped trying to meet local needs before the migrants arrived. Some state funding is available, but town officials say it’s limited, and they can only request it once. And town staff worry that offering too many services could send the wrong message.”
She then played a clip of Carbondale Town Manager Lauren Gister saying, “The prime priority was life safety, getting people out of the cold. But we also don’t want to issue an open invitation and, all of a sudden, end up with 500 people.”
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