‘Desperate, dire need’ in Calgary for homes to host Ukrainian evacuees

Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers says there is a long housing waitlist for Ukrainian evacuees with nowhere to go. Danina Falkenberg has more on the Ukrainian evacuee housing campaign launched in Calgary on Wednesday.

By Danina Falkenberg

Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers says there is a long housing waitlist for Ukrainian evacuees with nowhere to go.

Due to the numbers, the centre launched a Ukrainian evacuee housing campaign Wednesday in Calgary.

The centre says March has seen a peak number of arrivals to Canada.

In Alberta, there have been around 1,100 arrivals in the last few weeks, and Calgary is expected to see about half of that number.

“We’re in a desperate, dire need at the moment for host homes,” said Kelly Ernst, chief program officer at Centre for Newcomers, in a news conference.

“It’s reaching the proportions of being a crisis moment. We have pulled people out of the airport who have stayed there two or three nights because they could not find housing. We’ve pulled people off the streets to try to ensure that they are not homeless.”

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One host family has welcomed a Ukrainian family into their home. Jeff Vosburgh says it’s a chance for the family to build a strong life in Canada.

“It’s not been challenging at all. Their little daughter just runs around the house and has fun,” he told CityNews.

“She’s not shy. She comes and plays with our dogs. It’s been a really nice experience.”

Dmytro Syrman, Anastasia, and their daughter are the family staying with the Vosburgh’s.

He says they lost everything, including their jobs and their home. They are looking to start their new life in Calgary.

“We don’t know that on the planet earth, people like Jeff, Jill … so kind people live it,” Dmytro said.

The centre for newcomers says it’s looking for hosts to offer one month’s accommodation. The evacuees will pay for utilities and have support from the centre to find permanent housing of their own.

“They’re just like us … there is a little language barrier, but we muddle through,” Jill Vosburgh said. ” We laugh. We drink wine together. They’re our new friends more than anything.”

For more information about becoming a host family, you can visit the Centre for Newcomers website, or by emailing n.shen@centrefornewcomers.ca.

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