IDAHO — While the war continues in Ukraine, some are looking to call Idaho a safe home. The Refugee Resettlement Program can take up to two years, so an alliance program was created to support Ukrainian refugees here in Idaho.
"These people have been through a lot and it's very evident,” said Tina Polishchuk, Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Refugees and Immigrants director of outreach. "We’ll ask them, where are you from and you can just see their demeanor change because even asking that question, all of a sudden they are reliving it in their minds. I believe that we have about 150 people in the state right now."
"Anyone who has been displaced because of this invasion so far have not come to Idaho through refugee resettlement but they have come through humanitarian parole,” Idaho Office for Refugees Communications Specialist Holly Beech said.
When they arrive in the Gem State, theIdaho Alliance for Ukrainian Refugees and Immigrants looks to provide them with the support they need.
The alliance looks to fill the gap between people coming in by humanitarian parole but programs are not yet available through the government. As of Monday — they were serving 77 people with 22 cases.
“When we first learn about a family, we invite them for an interview and first identify what are their immediate needs so do they have clothing, many of them are coming here with one bag and in many instances sometimes it a couple of suitcases,” Polishchuk said.
Along with clothing, most need hygiene products and a bed to sleep in, which the Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Refugees and Immigrants looks to supply.
They are also looking at long-term help — potentially putting together an education program in the summer and temporary and permanent housing options
“Although some of them will go back after the war is over, there's also a lot of people who have nothing to go back to. We currently have a family from Mariupol, that city is destroyed and so going back for them is not an option," Polishchuk said.
The U.S. government is launching Uniting for Ukraine, a program to streamline the arrival process and facilitate private sponsorships.https://t.co/3EuKCao3bM— Idaho Office for Refugees (@IdahoRefugees) April 21, 2022
“We do know that the US has committed to welcoming up to 100,000 displaced Ukrainians, that doesn’t mean only through the refugee program it could be through other sponsorships and alliances but we are definitely ready to be here as a resource to help however we can and two continue growing resettlement not just for people from Ukraine but all over the world who have been displaced due to violence in their home country," Beech said.