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More liberal cities, states ask private residences to house migrants amid overwhelming numbers

by John Jefferson
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Several liberal cities and states have been expanding ways of dealing with the surge of migrants coming into their jurisdictions, including asking residents to help house immigrants to relieve pressure on the shelter system.

Denver officials recently told local outlets that the city is looking for alternative ways to house migrants. Fox 31 reported that the city recently emailed Denver rental property owners asking if they would be interested in renting to migrants who need housing.

It comes as the city is scaling back its migrant services in an attempt to reduce the budget deficit by nearly $60 million and consolidate shelters.


“We put out a feeler to all the landlords we have connections with,” an official for Denver Human Services told the outlet. “Basically said, listen, we’re going to have some newcomers who are going to need housing.”

They are setting a rent cap of $2,000 and say the effort is being supported by nonprofits that are connecting migrants with various forms of housing.

But it’s one of a number of ideas floated as a solution by cities that have seen themselves overwhelmed by migrant numbers.

In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams in June floated the idea of eventually housing migrants in private dwellings and paying landlords of homeowners. He suggested it as he announced that a number of faith-based services had agreed to shelter migrants.

“It is my vision to take the next step to these faith-based locales and then move to a private residence,” he said. “We can take that $4.2 billion, or $4.3 billion maybe now, that we potentially have to spend, and we can put it back in the pockets of everyday New Yorkers, everyday houses of worship instead of putting it in the pockets of corporations, and some of those corporations come from outside of our city.”

In Chicago, a sanctuary city, suburban lawmakers proposed in January that residents be allowed to sign up to host migrants in their homes.

“You know, we do hear from constituents on both sides of this: what are we going to do to preemptively stop this? And then we hear from people that tell us we should do more, so we do have a very affluent community, a lot of big homes, and what I’d like to do is direct staff to create a sign-up sheet … for individuals that would be willing to house migrant families,” Naperville, Illinois, Councilman Josh McBroom said. 

Migrants on the floor and on cots at a makeshift shelter at Chicagos OHare International Airport

“And if there’s people that would do that, God bless them. So, if we could raise awareness in that way, I think we need to find out. I think we need to find out who would be willing to house migrant families,” he said.

The proposal was later nixed, according to Patch.com, with Naperville’s city council determining state and federal agencies would handle any such action.


In Massachusetts, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll asked state residents to open their doors in August after the state saw a shortage of shelters.

“Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Housing and shelter is our most pressing need and become a sponsor family,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll’s comments echoed Gov. Maura Healey’s statement that called on residents to “offer a helping hand.”


“This is a national issue that demands a national response,” Healey said during a press conference. “In the meantime, we’re simply asking the federal government to use the tools already available to give these brave parents a chance to work and support their families. At the same time, we’re calling on everyone in Massachusetts to come together, help us meet this moment in our state and offer a helping hand.”

Meanwhile, in Michigan, state officials asked residents in February to house refugees in their homes and help them to resettle. The state Department of Labor and Economic Development said volunteers who wish to participate must commit for at least 90 days as part of the refugee support program.

Sponsors would be expected to support newly arrived refugees by greeting them at the airport, securing and preparing initial housing, enrolling children in school and helping adults find employment.

Fox News’ Michael Dorgan, Danielle Wallace and Greg Wehner contributed to this report.

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