Ukrainian refugees: British Columbia developer offers families rent-free apartments

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For the second time in as many weeks, a Ukrainian family will move into a new purpose-built rental building in Metro Vancouver, where they have been invited to stay for free for the rest of the year.

All but two of the 144 units in Port Moody’s development, The Moody, had been rented out when the war began. The owner of Woodbridge Homes, whose grandparents immigrated to Canada from Ukraine, has decided to offer the remaining suites to Ukrainian families fleeing their home country.

“I think the family connection really made us think, stop and pause,” said Judy Howard, whose husband, Jamie, owns the business. .'”

They contacted a local Ukrainian settlement organization and were quickly put in touch with a mother with two daughters who needed a place to stay. They moved in two weeks ago.

“The daughter is already in high school, the other daughter is 18 months old, doing her thing being a nice little girl, and the mom got a job at the local Thrifty Foods who is already working in the deli,” Howard said.

The second family, the Kovalivs, lands at Vancouver International Airport on Thursday. The couple have three young children, and when Howard told friends and colleagues that Woodbridge Homes would offer them accommodation at The Moody, they wanted to help.

“It was instant, I didn’t even have to ask people. I just started talking about it, and before we knew it, we had people donating money, food , toys, clothes, cooking, bedding, towels – you name it. We had everything we needed,” Howard said. Other promoters also donated the furniture.

With the second family soon to arrive, Howard just hopes they will feel welcome in Canada.

“Enrolling these kids in school would be a big step for these parents, and if the community around them embraces them,” Howard said. “I think the most important thing is to feel safe and comfortable.”

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