Ukrainian flag colours, hands entwined graphic (pixabay photo).

Ukrainian flag colours, hands entwined graphic (pixabay photo).

United Way calls on B.C. residents to open their homes to displaced Ukrainians

Applying to be a host home for Ukrainians can provide refuge in a time of need, UWBC said

United Way British Columbia is urging residents to open their doors to displaced Ukrainians by applying to be a host home.

Every day, approximately 20-30 displaced Ukrainians arrive in British Columbia fleeing war and seeking a safe place to shelter, a news release from United Way B.C. states. Their journeys have seen them face trauma and horrors but there is still hope as they are welcomed to new communities across the province.

United Way B.C. has been supporting settlement agencies by welcoming Ukrainians to the province, providing necessities, and finding housing. Standing in the way of that are limited housing opportunities, a situation they hope to address through a refugee hosting program.

“Having a safe place to call your own, to rest and not having to worry about moving is vital to arriving Ukrainians to find the space and security they need to heal with their trauma and integrate into their new communities,” reads a statement released by the United Way.

“We have so many more (Ukrainians) waiting in hotels right now for long-term housing. We have seen a significant decrease in housing offers coming from communities and now Ukrainians are facing a real challenge finding available accommodation, especially as many short-term opportunities are also ending.”

UWBC’s housing program said it places safety and security as a top priority. Applications are rigorously vetted to ensure the most suitable matches based on the individual and family needs of arriving Ukrainians.

According to a UWBC representative at the time of reporting, 433 people have applied and so far, 235 applications have been matched. Of the verified applications, 39 in more remote locations are left for matching.

All types of housing are needed, from rooms to suites, and both short and long-term accommodations and the most important factor is that homes are safe. Anyone leaving an apartment or house available during a summer getaway, or with an extra room for someone who needs short-term accommodation are encouraged to volunteer.

The program is being operated through a partnership with the Government of British Columbia, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and Affiliation of Multicultural Societies & Service Agencies of BC.

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