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LETTER: Ukrainian refugees in need of support

Now is the time to support Ukrainians on Vancouver Island.

Now is the time to support Ukrainians on Vancouver Island.

Over the past six months, we have assisted more than 500 displaced Ukrainians who have arrived on Vancouver Island.

They are mostly single mothers, and they require significant support to build new lives in a foreign country with a new language, and in many cases, a new way of doing things. And they encounter the same challenges that Vancouver Islanders do: a shortage of affordable housing, a lack of childcare, and rising food costs.

Communities have come together to show support for these folks, and we are so grateful for everyone who has reached out. But six months in, we are seeing a drop in donations and offers to host.

It’s understandable that as the war drags on that folks get busy with their own lives and their own troubles. But displaced Ukrainians keep coming, and with that the challenges of people traumatized by war.

Just this week, we have two families at serious risk of homelessness because we cannot find housing, and funds to pay for emergency Airbnbs are drying up. There is no greater feeling of helplessness than telling a single mother that you don’t know where she will be living seven days from now, and you don’t know what to suggest.

As a volunteer, I appeal to our community: please, don’t stop supporting Ukrainians.

If you can give, please give. If you can volunteer, please volunteer. If you can host, please host. Vancouver Islanders have been generous and welcoming. Please don’t stop now.

Karmen McNamara, general manager

Help Ukraine Vancouver Island