Ukrainian refugee speaks on struggle to find housing: ‘I worry a lot’

Ukrainian refugee speaks on struggle to find housing: 'I worry a lot'

A 70-year old Ukrainian mother and her son are struggling to find a permanent home as more of their family members are expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

Nadia Koretska and her son Yurii arrived on Vancouver Island last week and had made plans to settle down. Yurii has secured a job and home to live, but once they arrived, they learned that their house was no longer available.

“They tried to find housing social networks like Facebook. They tried to find something affordable,” said Koretska through Zhanna Kolesnyk as her translator.

Korestska is one of at least 20 to 50 refugees who currently don’t have stable housing on the Island, according to Help Ukraine V.I. The organization says they’ve been seeing an influx of refugees coming to Canada due to a looming visa deadline.

On March 31, more than a year after the war began, the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) program is set to expire.

READ MORE: ‘He may have slept on the streets’: Ukrainian refugees facing housing crisis

“For sure I worry a lot, but also we hope other members of our family will be able to find a job and we’ll be able to pay for housing,” said Koretska.

At least four other of her family members have applied for CUAET and are expected to arrive on the Island in the next few weeks.

She’s currently found temporary housing at the Ukrainian Village Transition House, which is intended for refugees including women, single mothers, seniors, and people with disabilities.

But without any sign of when the war will end, the village is concerned about the ever-growing waiting list.

“A lot of people still have hope that the war will be finished much sooner, but unfortunately do not know when it’ll be done,” said Building Manager Luiba Moisieieva.

READ MORE: Ukrainian Village opens, creating supportive transitional housing for refugees

A report published on Feb 13. by Desjardins found that Canada will need to increase its housing supply by nearly 50%  nationally, in order to support the number of incoming immigrants.

“This is equivalent to about 100,000 more housing starts on average in 2023 and 2024,” said the report.

Last month, B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon called on the federal government to increase funding for housing as a record-number of people immigrate to the province.

“I prefer to be a positive thinking person, so yes I hope everything will be better,” said Koretska.

The Ukrainian refugee is continuing to hold out hope and is continuing the search for permanent housing in Victoria’s ultra-tight market.

Help Ukraine V.I. is continuing to look for host families  for incoming refugees and donations to fund resources. For more information, you can visit their website,

Oli HerreraOli Herrera

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