Watch these interviews and read the translations to hear families please for humanity firsthand… THANK YOU to volunteer Verena O’Malley for reaching out and offering such timely translation!!!
This is V with HAND. I am about to do an interview with a family that was just kicked out from the migrant shelter. They have a one year old and a five year old. This interview is going to be in Spanish, but you know we’ll post a translation afterwards. But this is really what we’re doing right now. I have a car full of baby clothes and I was able to get them some items and some hand warmers and things like that. But the truth of the matter is that these families with small children are being kicked to the streets and so now we are showing up with baby items, which is something we did not think we were gonna have to do even the city has been, you know, not helpful. They did house people for a few more days. But you know, we know that 67 individuals and families are being kicked out today across all the migrant shelters in Colorado. So now I’m going to be talking to the family about their situation.
I want to know if I have your permission to do this interview now.
Yes, sure, we give you the authorization.
OK. Thank you, and how old are your children?
She’s 12 months and he’s 6 years old.
OK thank you 12 months and 5 years and what is the hotel doing now? Why are you on the street now?
This one well, they give one a limit of 37 days. When you reach the deadline and even if you have nowhere to go, they still take us out to the street, that is, they don’t care if we have or don’t have housing and they still take us out, no matter how cold it is, no matter if it is hot or not, they still take the step in the limit they gave.
And do they give you resources to help with something?
No. They told us that they donate clothes and they don’t, and they don’t allow clothes to come in, you have to hide them so that you can, the clothes that people give you, so that you can keep warm because it is very cold. So, they don’t allow that and you have to sneak them in, because those are also excuses to get us out of the hotel.
Yes. And do you know where you are going now?
No. We still don’t know because my husband still hasn’t found a stable job, so what he earns is for food, because there they only give us breakfast and dinner, they don’t give us lunch, so we have to figure out lunch. With the little he can get is enough to eat. So, I don’t know yet, we don’t know where we are going. And did they say anything about bus tickets?
Not to us. There are people who do get them, but at the schools. Not there in the hotel, in the school is where they give them the bus ticket assistance.
Mhm. And, before we met and talked, what was your plan for today?
Well, we went for a walk in the street to see what we could get. Well, thank God we got to you and at least you gave us some clothes because, at least to be warm.
So, what do you want the city to change or the public to know about their situation?
Well, right now there are a lot of people in street situations, so we don’t have housing and I would like some support with that situation because there are several lines, we don’t have them anymore, but they are already saturated. I called these days, but they told me that by December and by then you know a lot of time to… where we are going to go.
And how many children do you think they have in this place now? At the hotel.
About 50 or so in the hotel.
OK. And if people want to help you, do you have a phone number or something to connect with work or something? Yes we do. That one has whatsapp and it has call.
OK does it have whatsapp?
Yes it has whatsapp as well.
OK, so we’re going to post this and ask for help from the community for you guys.
The most important thing would be a job. I mean for my husband at least because with a child I can’t work but with my husband already receiving (money), we can look to rent a house.
And what kind of job?
Anything you know of or hear about. Any employment options would be good.
Thank you very much for your time and thank you for this situation.
Mostly to get more people out of the hotel in the least amount of time. Any excuse to get people out of the hotel before their time’s up, yes. Before time.
Like what types of rules?
Rules like, you can’t bring food in. If you bring food, they take it away and throw it in the trash.
You can’t wear clothes that people donate to you, and they don’t give us donations either. At least, 3 days ago a van arrived to give donations to people there, like winter clothes; and they told them to leave, they told them that they can’t be there, and that they can’t make donations.
They have a sign that says they don’t accept donations. So we see it as bad because we need clothes and food and they don’t really accept any of that there. They only give us breakfast and dinner. Lunch we have to find another way.
And they check the room two or three times a day. They come in and check… Doesn’t matter how you are, they open the door.
Like, they arrive at 10:00 at night, when people are sleeping, and they knock hard on the door to make an impression, then you have to get up. They wake up the children.
Yes and you had a hamburger and that’s why…
Yes, my husband was doing a day job and (my son) was at school and I had my lunch because they only give things to the baby.
Did you buy it…?
Yes, My husband had brought me (money) the night before and I saved it for the next day for some nuggets and a hamburger. They found it and threw it in the trash, so they left me without lunch.
They did give her her food. But if they find something, they throw it away, they throw it away.
You can only have water and juice boxes for the children. But the rest, food, they throw away.
They throw away cereal, milk, juice, soda, all those things go away, they take them from you and throw them in the trash. Yes.
They simply check the room and what they get from you, they take it away and I leave, carrying their garbage bag. Meant for that.
And when they want to remove a person, is there a number to call to say that it is not fair?
No, we can’t do anything when it happens. They are the ones who have the power to get us out and well I can’t do anything, and when it’s your turn to leave, for example if they find some food and they want you to leave the room, they’ll kick you out of the hotel. It doesn’t matter if you have children or what the weather is like.
They don’t care about anything. It’s hard for us.
O.K. Thank you.
Hello, how are you? I want to know if I have your permission to talk to you about your
Yes, I have it, thank you and we are here today. There’s a lot of noise, sorry. Let’s talk here. We want to talk to you about the hotel to know how they are treating you, so does anyone want to say something about the treatment?
The treatment is not very good because if you bring food they throw it away. They give you a little food for breakfast and dinner, because they don’t give you lunch. And if people come to help, they’re kicked out.
If someone gives you a bicycle to go out to look for work, (the hotel) throws it away.
They already threw out a bike of mine. I have to walk, we don’t have money for bus tickets, so we have to walk all day, everywhere.
Don’t they help with bus tickets?
No, they don’t help.
If you have a move out date, you have to leave and they just take people out. Just now they were removing a family by force. They have nowhere to go.
There is a lot of noise, can you speak louder, yes.
Just as I was leaving (the hotel), I realized that they were forcibly removing a family. They were given until 11 in the morning to leave.
And do they care if it’s cold outside or what do they do if it’s cold outside? What do they do? Do they kick people out if it’s cold?
Yes, they remove people, regardless of the time or if it’s at night. Some people stay there in the cold. In my case, I just arrived and they gave me until November 12. So if I don’t get a job, if I don’t get housing, I have to leave.
And also, if you are sick, do they help?
No, they told me there are no doctors, only breakfast and dinner, that’s all.
And what kinds of rules do they have?
From the beginning, we cannot have any type of donations. In other words, we cannot receive any donations at the hotel. It is up to us to go elsewhere and receive them from other means because we cannot receive them as is.
You can’t give your address because if we give it they’ll also throw us out, we can’t receive donations from the street, we can’t bring food in.
How many months old are your babies?
She’s a year old.
6 months, OK. And do you have a plan for when your days at the hotel end? Do you have a plan for where you’re going, or what to do?
There is the option that at least if you don’t have any… if you didn’t get a job, they give people flights to other states.
Other states, but they don’t have anything here in Colorado?
Do they provide any phone numbers for organizations that have resources?
Yes, at least at the beginning they gave us numbers of food banks, clothing banks, and the place where we can go to rent help, but we have attended those rent help sessions. And right now they tell us that they have no funds, I don’t know if it is because of the number of people coming and that have been arriving, but we really need it. I speak as a mother of 2 children. If there is no job for us to generate money, are we going to be in the same situation? It’s going to be a circle. Because we might get help for a month. If we are going to be in the same homeless situation, as a Venezuelan, I think that we did not come here to beg, we came here to work, to
raise our children because for them, the family, the situation that we are experiencing in our countries, as well as other nearby countries like our friend from Nicaragua, are coming due to the same situation. We have been fleeing from this same situation that we are here at this moment experiencing, that is, at first everything is difficult. But if we have the help of many people, we can get ahead.
It’s just that now is the weather. We are aware that the weather has not yet affected us either, but the cold is a factor that is worrying us. We go out to work every morning, to walk, to look for work and, no, the answer is always no. And many people have worked, and have not even been paid for the day. That’s another thing that also happens a lot.
A friend told me that they went and did work and it turns out that they determined at the end of the day, they don’t get paid.
My husband went to work from 4:00 in the morning until 10 and was not paid.
And they can’t call anyone because…
To survive…they almost kicked us out of the hotel, because we were complaining about this… money. Because there were 11 workers who worked in the snow.
In the snow since dawn. And no one paid them.
And we are doing this interview and we don’t know if they’ll throw us out of the hotel when we arrive. Well, what are we going to do? Someone has to raise their voice because what else do we do? In other words, if everyone hides and we hide the truth… It’s not fair to say that they are not giving us help, by receiving us here and giving us some days in the hotel, but I feel that there are certain things that they are not doing well. No, they are not treating us humanely as they should be.
In other words, they have to be a little more aware of the situation we are in, which I know it is not their fault, but it is not our fault either, and we only have 30 or 37 days, now my friend has 15 days and they’ll throw him out, like, good luck! What does a person do then, beg? He is going to have to beg because he does not have an income to cover his basic needs. Yes, and that is all we want. First of all, a decent job and we can get ahead as we heard…
Yes. OK, thank you very much for your time and I am sorry about this situation, it is very bad.
Thank God and truly thank this country for the opportunity, but we must say things as they really are, that is, we cannot cover the sun with a finger, because just as we suffer as women, as parents, people are also following behind us. So, things have to improve, little by little.
Yeah. Thank you.
With everything you go through on the way through Mexico, Guatemala, even the jungle, it is very hard. My girl got sick from a bacteria in her stomach in the jungle and I had her hospitalized for two days here. I got bad looks because she arrived passed out, her sugar was really low, everything lowered. She hadn’t eaten for two days, and that afternoon when we arrived at the hotel, they didn’t give us food because there wasn’t any. And in the morning we took her, she arrived at the hospital fainted. They had to give her sweets with a glove in her mouth. The jungle is very contaminated, there are many dead people. You pass right in front of them, you see dead people there.
People whose fathers, their mothers, their siblings, left them abandoned in the jungle and that’s it. That’s their thing. We only came to look for a better future in this country, for our families who were left back there with the very harsh government. The situation in Venezuela is very difficult.
Yes. I hope that our governments here are going to listen to that and do more for you because you have suffered enough. You need peace and opportunities…
We have been really suffering since we left, and we’re still suffering today. I mean, people comment and say, why don’t they return to their country? What did they come here for? Nobody knows everyone’s situation, you understand. At least, in my case, I am a nurse in my country and look where I am now, in the middle of nowhere, with my two children, although I left one at school right now.
How old is he?
11 years old and I have my 6 month old baby. So, for me I see humanitarian things that are not being done well. And really, thank God for everything, but things have to improve.
And, you know, how do we return to Venezuela? We sold our house and the little we had to come. We no longer have… How would we get back there again? If we don’t have a house, a home anymore…
And the worst part of arriving there, for example, being imported… is arriving and not knowing what our government can do. When you land, the police could already be waiting for us there, like the first flights that have passed. They already arrived. We don’t know if they are in their homes, we don’t know if the government… we don’t know anything. So we’re also scared of that.
Yes, no one knows the straw that breaks the camel’s back. And why did we really decide to take this journey here? Firstly, I came for the opportunity. That things improve for the good of all, so we all have the opportunity to be happy and even more so if we have children, if our children grow up in a place where they can be healthy and happy and be good men in the future, but healthy. Without any fear of any kind, no fear.
And we thought that by coming to this country, people said that by coming to the United States things would go well right away. It’s not like that, not all at once. You go through a lot of work.
And you suffer a lot of humiliation from other people who treat you badly; you want to ask for help? No, hey, I don’t know you. But someday we’ll get out of this situation, right?
Thank you, for your time and for your voices. And if anyone is watching this and listening and wants to help them, we have their phone numbers so please call us. Let’s help them out.
We’ll leave the phone numbers with you.
Yes, yes. OK thanks.