From administrator: This information was originally sent to update those who have expressed a desire to host displaced Ukrainians and signed up on the placement database on the ‘Needed!’ tab. This report gives a sense of the general movement of people in relationship to the fluid nature of the war. Also on the ‘Needed!’ tab is updated specific information for Ukrainians going to North America and the UK:
I’m writing to update you on the current progress of placing Ukrainians in homes with believers throughout Europe and North America. You are receiving this update because you along with many others, filled out our Housing Database Form on our website, www.Voice-of-Ukraine.com, or you received the direct link to the online Housing Form. I want to thank you for your willingness to serve in this critical way. As the coordinator for the placement of Ukrainians in Europe and North America for the MTW Crisis Response Team based in Krakow, Poland, I want to personally thank you for your willingness to open your home or to serve as a point person representing a network of churches or believers. This has been invaluable as we have placed Ukrainian families, primarily women and children, with believers and church families.
We have had substantially more people respond with offering potential housing than we have had Ukrainians seeking placement. This has enabled us to provide displaced people (DPs) with options that fit their needs and desires. At the beginning of the current Russian invasion in February, we experienced the first wave of DPs seeking a place of refuge to the West. Our focus at this time was primarily to assist members of our churches in Ukraine, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Ukraine, and their families and network of relationships. The composition of this wave was predominantly believers, but as time progressed, the demographics changed as the war changed.
Currently, we are helping predominantly those whose relationships to our church network is more distant and more are unbelievers than earlier on. It also seems that those who are moving westward beyond Ukraine and coming into our ‘people pipeline’ are more traumatized than earlier on, as more now are coming from the far eastern and southern regions where the war has been ongoing and now intensifying.
After Russian forces began to withdraw from the region around Kyiv, there seemed to be a pause in the movement of DPs – people were considering returning to vacated areas, even though Ukrainian governmental announcements were discouraging this movement back to areas that had been liberated. This has resulted in a greater saturation of DPs remaining in the relatively safer region of Western Ukraine and not crossing the border moving westward into Eastern and Western Europe. We continue to be in the midst of this seeming pause of movement. The DPs we have assisted of late have generally already had a destination in Europe in mind with the aim of joining other friends or family members and from us have only needed help with transportation or lodging along the way. We expect there to be another ‘wave’ of DPs moving westward as the war intensifies in the east, but we are not sure whether this will mean that significantly more people will seek to leave Ukraine or decide to remain in Western Ukraine to see how the war develops?
The general ideal criteria we have used in placement of Ukrainians throughout Europe has been: 1) Are there other Ukrainians nearby in the community that would serve as support? 2) Is the potential placement context in a more urbanized area that would provide access to public transport? 3) Are the hosts (or someone in that context) able to walk alongside the DPs to help them gain access to governmental agencies which provide longer term benefits (work permits, medical, and education for children). The paradigm we have employed is that in Krakow, we provide DPs with a short-term context in The Shelter where they can regroup and assess next steps. The next step is to find a placement that is a ‘mid-term’ option forming a bridge to the longer-term benefits that are accessed through governmental entities. The values under girding this process are to treat displaced families with care, dignity and respect, which we would hope that others would offer to those whom we love if they found themselves in similar circumstances.
Questions have been received from people who are willing to host DPs but have not been contacted – this is especially true of those in the UK, US and Canada. There are reasons for this which we have learned as time has progressed. First, the general and predominant desire of DPs in our network is to return to Ukraine – to return home. For this reason, most have expressed a desire to stay generally in Eastern Europe or further in Western Europe if the conditions of the placement fit their needs. We have received no families or individuals through our networks coming out of Ukraine who wanted to go to North America unless they already had visas for entry based upon having already visited the US before the war began. Even though the process for entry into the UK has made positive steps for Ukrainians to enter, it is still difficult to stage or wait several weeks somewhere in Europe for the process to go through. Canada as well has made the path for Ukrainians much easier but still it is more difficult than staying in the EU. Entry into the US, even though the government has expressed a more favorable track for Ukrainians, practically speaking it would take years for Ukrainians to start the visa process going through the normal entry path provided….
Your prayers are so much appreciated for us and for Ukraine. We, all together, seek to serve the Lord where we are and to be faithful in our response to the crisis before us.