PHOTOS: Seniors home reopens for Ukrainian newcomers

A Canadian and Ukrainian shared flag inside the village’s common meeting area. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)A Canadian and Ukrainian shared flag inside the village’s common meeting area. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Neighbours and Ukrainian newcomers come together to celebrate the grand opening of the Ukrainian Village. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Neighbours and Ukrainian newcomers come together to celebrate the grand opening of the Ukrainian Village. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Victoria branch Ukrainian-Canadian Congress president Devon Sereda Goldie cuts the ribbon marking the grand opening. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Victoria branch Ukrainian-Canadian Congress president Devon Sereda Goldie cuts the ribbon marking the grand opening. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Sunflowers sit at the centre of the communal dining table. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Sunflowers sit at the centre of the communal dining table. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Residence manager Liuba Moisieieva inside one of the 15 suites. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Residence manager Liuba Moisieieva inside one of the 15 suites. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)
Iryna Hromova and her two-and-a-half-year-old son, from Kyiv, inside their new room. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)Iryna Hromova and her two-and-a-half-year-old son, from Kyiv, inside their new room. (Austin Westphal/News Staff)

Residents of Kiwanis Village welcomed several Ukrainian newcomers to the community Saturday (Aug. 6) at the Ukrainian Village’s grand opening.

In an effort to aid some of the most vulnerable Ukrainians fleeing violence – including single mothers with children, seniors, people living with disabilities and members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community – up to 45 people will now be able to take up temporary residence for free in the village.

The Ukrainian village is a product of the partnership between the Capital Regional District, Help Ukraine Vancouver Island, Kiwanis Club of Victoria, St. Nicholas the Wonderworker Ukrainian Catholic Church, Ukrainian-Canadian Congress Victoria branch, Ukrainian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island, and Victoria Foundation.

The new village is made up of 15 units, most of which are bachelor suites equipped with kitchenettes and bathrooms. There’s also a communal kitchen as well as a meeting area with a sunroom and television.

Newcomers will be able to stay in the village for up to three months, and possibly longer if needed.

“We really want this to be a space that supports these people in becoming independent, not just throwing them out on their own once their three months here in the village is up,” said Devon Sereda Goldie, president of Victoria’s Ukrainian-Canadian Congress branch.

The former assisted living residence has been leased to the Ukrainian Cultural Society of Vancouver Island – which already runs the Ukrainian Cultural Centre – for one year.

Liuba Moisieieva immigrated to Canada more than eight years ago. Like those escaping the war, Moisieieva understands the challenges of relocating to an entirely different society. That’s why she’ll be living in the village as the residence manager – alongside her parents and nephew who recently arrived from Ukraine.

“No one was ready to come to Canada,” she said. “This is very painful for all of us. Some came with just one backpack.”

“It’s important having a clean and safe environment. People can speak Ukrainian and Russian and most importantly, feel at home.”

READ MORE: Ukrainian couple, daughter land in North Saanich with hopes of building a ‘big, happy family’



austin.westphal@saanichnews.com

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