A Greater Victoria businessman is attempting to bring a Ukrainian family fleeing the Russian invasion of their homeland to Canada, but he is looking for help to overcome a significant hurdle – housing.
Fred Aram, president and CEO of West Coast Appliances in Victoria, has been working to sponsor the Chychuk family of Roman and Daryna, their young children Mykhailo and Savelii, and Daryna’s mother Tatiana.
The family is in neighbouring Poland, awaiting the green light to come to Canada and ensuring the pregnant Daryna is being cared for.
“First, we need to find them a place to live, and as you know in Victoria, finding a place for six to live is really a challenge,” said Aram. “Without having a home for them, I cannot even bring them here … right now. They want to get to a safe place to settle. They don’t know how the future will turn out, they never planned to leave their country, but they were forced to.”
Once housing with at least three bedrooms to accommodate the family is secure, Aram said he would help the family through whatever the next steps will be to get them here.
Once they arrive, Aram said he has a job waiting for Roman at his appliance business, and he is hoping the community will be able to help find work for Daryna and her mother. They don’t speak English, so they too can help support their family as they establish roots in a new land. Aram said it was Roman’s application for work in Canada through a federal government website to help Ukrainians fleeing the war get to Canada, which first connected him with the family.
“It’s the smallest thing I can do. I will do whatever I can for people who need help,” said Aram. “If I went online to post a job and someone applied for it, I have to do whatever I can for them because it has come my way … I can just imagine myself being in their shoes, how desperate I would be, so I just want to do my duty as a human being.”
Aram said as an immigrant, he knows how daunting it can be for anyone to leave their home to start a new life in an unfamiliar land, making it even more important to him that he makes the process as easy as possible. While work offers, furniture, and other donations will be needed soon, he said none of it would be of much use if a home can’t be found first.
Aram said any home suitable for a family of that size would be welcome. He said he would guarantee the family could pay any rent in full each month to help alleviate any concerns potential landlords or donors may have.
Anyone able to help is asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit Aram in person at the store, or contact him directly at 778-861-4175.