Finding a place to live is one of the more difficult problems that refugees from the war in Ukraine face when they arrive in New York. Two Ukrainian sisters who work for a Manhattan real estate executive have been assisting to find them flats at lower rents.
The situation of the immigrants had a profound impact on Bob Perl, a real estate agent who owns properties in Manhattan's East Village's Little Ukraine neighborhood. Bob Perl founded the Ukrainian Habitat Fund as a result.
Perl, president of Tower Brokerage, claimed he was worried about the punishment of Putin far too. "I reasoned, 'I'm a landlord, let me at least help one refugee family," she said.
I then thought that perhaps I might assist two refugee families by having each of them pay half the rent.
Since the war began a year ago, more than 270,000 Ukrainians have immigrated to the United States, with tens of thousands making their way to New York state.
15 families have now found houses thanks to the charity fund. On a list are another 80 people who have requested assistance. The fund will guarantee leases and subsidize some rents when landlords are hesitant to rent to refugees new to the city.
By planning events around the holidays, the charity also aids refugees in adjusting to their new lives in America.
It recently organized a workshop where traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs were painted by ten kids and their moms at the Ukrainian Museum.
Tetiana Lytvynenko and her daughter Darina, who is 9 years old, were present. The mother was employed by a Bucha resort that was bombed by the Russians as a graphic designer and marketing strategist. As a result, 400 employees lost their jobs, including her. The husband of Lytvynenko is still in the military in Ukraine.
Darina, who is building a new life away from home, said she is missing her dad, grandma, closest friend, and bear, a sizable plush animal she left behind in Ukraine.
In Brooklyn, Darina and her mother reside with a family for no rent and make borsht and crepes. When the war started, 11-year-old Arthur Lande claimed he was in an underground refuge for two weeks. He arrived in the country in March 2022 and now shares a studio flat in Little Ukraine with his mother.
He claimed, "When I first arrived here, I could hardly speak English at all. But now that I'm at a good school, I'm learning it. Because I have many friends here, I'm pretty sure I want to stay.
Yana, his mother, is an artist who was living in Russia at the time of the war. She claimed to have abandoned her vehicle before boarding a flight to New York. She also left behind an empty flat in Odessa.
I know who I am, she declared. She doesn't speak English as well as her son does. "I'm a mother and try to be joyful even under trying circumstances. My life will begin at zero. I don't believe my life is horrible now, but it is incredibly difficult.”
Gabriella and Lidiya Oros are well aware of the challenges of starting over in New York. The sisters came to this country in 2000 from Ukraine and are now employed by Bob Perl. On behalf of the Ukrainian Habitat Fund, they collaborate directly with refugee families.
Gabriella chuckled heartily, "I feel like I have so many children now — at least 25." "You feel like a member of their family and they're a part of yours."
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