Ukrainian refugees find home in Bay Area, thanks to local company

"We can plan and build our future life."

Tara Campbell Image
Saturday, July 9, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

A local company helps several Ukrainian families fleeing from the Ukraine-Russia war find a home in the Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With the turn of a key, Kateryna and her son are home in their new apartment having fled Ukraine.

"It's like a dream really. I could never imagine I'd have my own apartment in San Francisco," said Kateryna, noting she's ready to start their lives in the Bay Area.

"In our own apartment. We can plan and build our future life. We can be safety here. We can be together."

RELATED: As hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians flee country, Bay Area nonprofits prepare for refugees

The apartment is a far cry from the bomb shelter they lived in for three weeks - as Russia attacked. "I couldn't sleep because I'm worried about my life, my son's life and so I decided to leave," she said, adding that she's grateful to Veritas, the company owning the property putting five units up free of charge for three months.

"I'm Ukrainian, like I said my family is in Odesa Ukraine so I definitely feel it," said Mila Shimko, Senior Director, Veritas. "When the war started and my company wanted to help out we connected with Nova Ukraine and decided lets help out these families," she said, adding that Ukrainian refugees are in a tough spot - unable to work until they get the go ahead from the government.

"In order to work they have to get a work permit, which can take three to four or six months sometimes, so they have no means of income so it's important they have housing."

RELATED: Despite Zelensky's pleas, San Jose mayor won't cut ties with Russian sister city

"I can say right now the demand is higher than what we can offer," said Nadia Rosen, a volunteer with the nonprofit, Nova Ukraine. "It would be great if people, organizations who have the opportunity to house Ukrainians could contact Nova Ukraine through the website."

Meanwhile, Kateryna is getting settled in their new home, but her mind is still very much with her homeland.

RELATED: John Cena surprises nonverbal fan who fled Ukraine with family

"I'm worried about my grandma, my father - they're still in Ukraine. I hope it will be end soon, but I don't think it will be," she said.

She is, however comforted by her new space, a place to call their own. "I have to start all my life from the beginning and this apartment is a huge support for me and my son."

If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live