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Archway in Abbotsford helps newly displaced Ukrainians find housing

More host families needed to offer short-term stays as new wave of arrivals expected
Natalia (left) arrived from Ukraine on Sept. 30, 2023 and has been staying in Abbotsford with her host Ingrid. (Archway Community Services photo)

Archway Community Services in Abbotsford is among the Lower Mainland agencies helping to find housing for displaced people as the war in Ukraine continues.

More than 20,000 Ukrainians have moved to B.C. since the war began in February 2022. The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) ends on March 31, and there is an expected wave of new arrivals ahead of the deadline.

United Way BC processes host applications that are then referred to settlement agenices such as Archway.

Anna Tykhonchenko, an Archway Ukrainian settlement worker, said that becoming a host to a Ukrainian family or individual is “a rewarding way for people to help.”

More than 500 B.C. residents have offered short- and long-term spaces to displaced Ukrainians. Housing can be a private room, separate unit or entire dwelling. Typically, guests stay two weeks to over three months, depending on the host’s preferences.

Both hosts and Ukrainians are supported throughout the process and, in the rare cases where a match doesn’t work out, all parties collaborate to find a resolution and new accommodations if needed.

“Having a safe space to rest and begin processing their trauma is an important step as Ukrainians seek to integrate into their new communities,” Tykhonchenko said.

With the stability that comes with housing, the newcomers can begin looking for work, take English language training as needed, and find schools for children.

“We’re so appreciative of the support of so many community members and United Way B.C. in addressing the needs of Ukrainians,” said Tykhonchenko, who fled Ukraine herself in March 2022.

“Archway has assisted more than 300 Ukrainians since 2022 and many of them are now able to support themselves but it takes time to adjust to a new country, language and culture. The clients who have had a host family at the beginning have an easier time settling in and many have built strong continuing friendships with their hosts.”

United Way BC supports displaced Ukrainians through a partnership with the federal government, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC.

Those who are interested in learning more about supporting Ukrainians through donations or offers of housing can visit

Abbotsford News Staff

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