The Government of Alberta announced increased funding to emergency accommodations for Ukrainian evacuees, topping up support provided by the Government of Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
The funding will be used to increase the limited number of hotel rooms available for evacuees, expanding coverage in Calgary and Edmonton and adding additional rooms in Red Deer, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat.
“Alberta’s government is providing additional funding to ensure that Ukrainian evacuees have a safe place to stay when they first arrive in Alberta,” said Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Trade, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
“This new funding comes directly from consultations with community partners that flagged the need for increased supports for evacuees.”
Among that flagged need for support was a call for Calgarians to temporarily open their homes to evacuees by the Centre For Newcomers earlier this week.
More than 28,000 evacuees already accepted into Alberta
Kelly Ernst, Chief Program Officer for Centre for Newcomers said that the funding would go a long way towards eliminating the gap in temporary housing.
“We are elated that so many Ukrainian evacuees will be helped with this announcement,” he said.
“We know that it will help to mitigate unnecessary homelessness among the evacuees and help remove evacuees from shelters, the street, and from staying overnight in airports.”
The province has already accepted more than 28,000 evacuees, and Ernst said that they expect that Calgary will receive more than 450 evacuees a week this spring.
The funding, said Yulia Gorbach with the Calgary Ukrainian Evacuee Welcome Committee, would provide Ukrainians somewhere safe while they figure out longer-term accommodations in the province.
“There is still going to be a need for people and companies to rally and help newcomers—that’s what has got us through this past year and allowed us to serve almost 10,000 newcomers,” Gorbach said.
“This government funding will make it all more manageable, especially because the terms are flexible to meet the needs of the families when they need the help.”
Additional programs put in place by the provincial government for evacuees include enrollment into Alberta’s health system, into K-12 schools and into child care, basic expense support for needs such as food, clothing, and shelter, and access to employment support.