Ukraine newcomers get financial boost from Oakville Community Foundation
Published July 20, 2022 at 3:33 pm
Ukrainian newcomers fleeing the war back home are receiving a helping hand to settle in Oakville and Halton Region.
The Oakville Community Foundation (OCF) has granted $12,500 to help two churches and a local organization integrate the new immigrants into the community.
Receiving OCF grants of $5,000 each are St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (specifically for Oakville) and St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church, while Halton Multicultural Council Connections, which helps welcome and settle newcomers into the community, was given $2,500.
The grants are from the local Foundation’s Oakville Resettlement Fund, which was established in 2017 during the Syrian Resettlement crisis and continues to help support the needs of new immigrants and refugees.
“St. Volodymyr Cathedral and Cultural Center is extremely grateful to the Oakville Community Foundation for this generous donation in support of our resettlement efforts,” said John Holuk, a board member with the St. Volodymyr’s Cultural Centre. “The newcomer families consist primarily of women and children fleeing the brutal war in Ukraine.
“We are focused on providing for the emergency support and meeting the special needs of these families, helping them find safety and security in our community.”
Upwards of 300 to 400 Ukraine newcomers arrive in Toronto every day and many of those families have been settling in the Halton area with the help with the help of both Ukrainian faith groups and HMC Connections.
So far, more than 8 million people have fled Ukraine to safety.
“We are very appreciative of this support,” said Oksana Sawras on behalf of the Humanitarian Support Committee at St. Joseph’s Ukrainian Catholic Church. “We have recognized that mental health is a very real issue and have organized a weekly social support group for women that are here either alone or with their children as well as monthly stress relief workshops to provide an outlet for them to share their grief and know that they are not alone.”
Ukrainians fleeing the war have been classified by the Canadian government as visitors with special considerations through the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel measures (CUAET) immigration process.
While this allows Ukrainians fleeing the war to arrive in Canada as quickly as possible, they do not meet the description of “refugee” and are instead classified as “displaced persons.”
This means those arriving in Canada may not have access to the housing supports offered to refugees, such as subsidized housing.
Many of those arriving in the Halton area are women and children, with young mothers, some well advanced in pregnancy, fleeing their home country.
Some families include mothers who have up to four or five children with them. Housing, income support, employment and child care have all been identified as priority needs.
“We are grateful to the many donors to The Foundation’s Resettlement Fund, enabling us to support community organizations that are leading the local resettlement efforts to ensure that the dollars get to where they’re needed most, quickly,” said Frances Pace, Director of Fundholder and Community Engagement at The Foundation.
There is a need for host homes to provide temporary housing (3 months to a year) to give the Ukrainian newcomers time to orient themselves in Canada, find jobs, settle their children and start to connect to the community. If interested in helping with housing or employment opportunities, contact HMC Connections at [email protected].
The OCF is asking local residents to consider making a donation to the Resettlement Fund to ensure they can quickly support the needs for new immigrants.
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