Supporting Newcomers in Colorado

Updated June 2024

Since December 2022, over 42,000 people have arrived in the Greater Denver region after traveling primarily from South and Central America. The city of Denver, the state of Colorado, and many local nonprofits have continued to welcome them and provide necessary services. For those new immigrants who intend to make their home here in Colorado, there are continued needs that our community can rally together to address. 

Shelter, Housing, Resource Navigation and Other Basic Needs

Established in December 2022, the Newcomers Fund provides grants to nonprofits that are meeting the vital needs of new immigrants in our community, including temporary and permanent housing, basic needs, and health and mental health support. Administered by Rose Community Foundation, the Fund is led by a steering committee that includes representatives from the City and County of Denver, the State of Colorado, The Denver Foundation, Latino Community Foundation of Colorado, and Mile High United Way. 

All dollars raised through the Newcomers Fund are deployed quickly and strategically to Colorado nonprofits providing essential services. The Fund has received more than 5,000 donations from individuals, foundations and businesses, and has raised and distributed over $2 million to over 40 organizations in Denver and throughout Colorado.  

The Fund has supported Denver-based nonprofits, which serve a significant portion of new immigrants, and has also extended assistance to communities beyond Denver, spanning from Yampa Valley to Carbondale, from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs. The work of those nonprofits has been important in meeting the needs of new arrivals and enabling them to settle elsewhere in the state. 

Work Permits, Temporary Protected Status and Employment

Since November 2023, Rose Community Foundation has also assisted newly arrived migrant families with obtaining Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and an accompanying Employment Authorization Document (EAD), commonly known as “work authorization.” The Foundation has dedicated funding for this work via the Newcomers Workforce Fund, which has raised $773,000 from philanthropic partners and an additional $750,000 from the state of Colorado. 

The state Office of New Americans has developed a two-prong approach to help people apply for TPS/EAD and EAD only, and the Newcomers Workforce Fund is distributing grants to help implement this model: 

  • Hosting legal clinics at nonprofits’ legal services providers 
  • Providing virtual immigration legal services with paid, low-bono immigration attorneys 

Since launching these efforts, 1,546 applications were filed between November 2023 and April 2024 and over 2,000 people have begun to engage in the application process.  

These workforce programs are focused on new immigrants who arrived in the United States before July 31, 2023, which the federal government has deemed are eligible for TPS and EAD. There are also efforts focused on two other new immigrant populations which are not being funded by the Newcomers Workforce Fund: 

  1. Individuals that arrived after July 31, 2023, registered with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services via the CBP1 app, and are eligible for work permits but not TPS. The State of Colorado and City and County of Denver are leading the work to serve this population. 
  1. Asylum seekers, who are eligible to apply for a work permit six months after they have filed for asylum. Denver Mayor Mike Johnston recently enacted substantial policy adjustments regarding newcomer response. These changes involve reinstating length-of-stay requirements and closing hotel shelters, aiming to alleviate the strain on city shelters and mitigate financial pressure on the city budget. 

 Newcomers in the city’s migrant shelter system as of April 10, 2024, have been offered the opportunity to participate in the Denver Asylum Seekers Program (DASP). Participants in the DASP program are linked with nonprofit-operated housing assistance options for up to six months following the submission of their asylum application. The asylum application process will be facilitated by a contracted partner of the City and County of Denver.  
DASP program participants can also participate in WorkReady Denver, a pre-work authorization readiness program. In collaboration with local businesses and workforce training organizations, participants undergo intensive integration and workforce training classes, along with potential unpaid internship opportunities to acquire valuable skills and experience while awaiting federal work authorization. The City and County of Denver will also host work authorization clinics to help participants in complete their applications for EAD when they become eligible. 
Funders interested in supporting this initiative may contribute to the Denver DASP Fund at Rose Community Foundation. If you are interested in supporting this fund, please contact Sarah Kurz at

Outstanding Needs

There are ongoing humanitarian needs in our community that must be addressed, including temporary housing and food security. Nonprofits are also seeking additional funding to address essential issues like health care and school support. The Newcomers Fund steering committee is currently prioritizing housing, resource navigation, and workforce and employment opportunities, and as fundraising continues, we hope to deploy future grants to nonprofits addressing additional longer-term needs.  

State funding has been allocated towards housing, case management, and immigration legal assistance for TPS/EAD and EAD applications through the end of June. Following this period, we will collaborate with our state and city partners to assess the number of individuals reached and determine how many eligible individuals remain in our community. 

Additionally, there are individuals who have submitted TPS and/or EAD applications and require ongoing legal support due to USCIS requests for follow-up information. Those who have received work permits also need assistance in securing gainful employment. In the coming months, we will provide further updates on the ongoing philanthropic needs in these areas. 

How to Support this Work

Individual donations can be made through the Rose Community Foundation website. If you have questions or are interested in providing financial support for the Newcomers Fund or the Newcomers Workforce Fund, please contact Sarah Kurz.


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