NEW YORK — One of many extra daunting duties going through refugees from the battle in Ukraine who come to New York is discovering a spot to stay. A Manhattan actual property govt has been serving to to search out them flats at lowered rents with the assistance of two Ukrainian sisters who work for him.
Bob Perl, an actual property dealer who owns properties within the neighborhood generally known as Little Ukraine in Manhattan’s East Village, began the Ukrainian Habitat Fund as a result of he was deeply affected by the plight of the refugees.
“I used to be spending an excessive amount of time desirous about what I needed to do to Putin,” mentioned Perl, president of Tower Brokerage. “I assumed, ‘I am a landlord, let me not less than assist one refugee household.’ After which it occurred to me, effectively, perhaps I may assist two refugee households and have every of them pay half hire.”
To this point the nonprofit fund has discovered houses for 15 households. There is a listing of 80 extra who’ve requested for assist. Along with subsidizing some rents, the fund will assure leases when landlords are reluctant to hire to refugees who’re new to the town.
The fund additionally helps refugees adapt to their new life in America by organizing actions on holidays. It lately coordinated a workshop on the Ukrainian Museum attended by 10 kids and their moms who painted conventional Ukrainian Easter eggs.
Amongst these in attendance had been Tetiana Lytvynenko and her 9-year-old daughter Darina. The mom labored as graphic designer and model strategist at a resort in Bucha that was destroyed by Russian bombs. She was one in every of 400 staff thrown out of labor in consequence. Lytvynenko’s husband stays in Ukraine the place he’s serving within the navy.
Lacking dwelling whereas making a brand new one
Darina mentioned she misses her dad, grandmother, greatest pal and bear — an enormous stuffed animal left behind again dwelling in Ukraine.
Darina and her mom reside rent-free with a household in Brooklyn, the place they prepare dinner borsht and crepes for his or her hosts. They’re going to need to discover a extra everlasting dwelling in two months.
Arthur Lande, 11, mentioned he spent two weeks in an underground shelter when the battle started. He arrived within the U.S. in March 2022 and now lives together with his mom in a small studio residence in Little Ukraine.
“After I simply got here right here, I could not converse English in any respect,” he mentioned. “However now I be taught it and I am in good faculty. I am fairly certain I wish to keep right here as a result of I’ve numerous associates right here.”
His mom Yana is an artist who was in Russia when the battle began. She deserted her automotive, she mentioned, earlier than catching a flight to New York. The residence she owned in Odessa has additionally been deserted.
In a break from the English language class she’s been taking at an Higher West Aspect synagogue, Yana Lande mentioned she considers herself very fortunate.
“I am perceive who I’m,” she mentioned. Her command of English is clearly not as superior as her son’s. “I am a mom and I attempt to be completely happy even in troublesome state of affairs. I am begin my life from the zero. I do not assume now I’ve unhealthy life however I’ve very troublesome life.”
The issue of a brand new life in New York is one thing Gabriella and Lidiya Oros are effectively conscious of. The sisters emigrated right here from Ukraine in 2000 and now work for Bob Perl. They work instantly with the refugee households on behalf of the Ukrainian Habitat Fund.
“I really feel like I’ve so many kids now — not less than 25,” Gabriella mentioned with a hearty chuckle. “You’re feeling such as you’re part of their household they usually’re part of yours.”