BC developer offers Ukrainian families rent-free apartments in new building

For the second time in as many weeks, a Ukrainian family will be moving into a new purpose-built rental building in Metro Vancouver where they’ve been invited to stay for free for the rest of the year.

All but two of the 144 units in Port Moody development The Moody had been leased when the war began. The owner of Woodbridge Homes, whose grandparents immigrated to Canada from Ukraine, decided to offer the remaining suites to Ukrainian families fleeing their homeland.

“I think having the family connection really made us think and stop and pause,” said Judy Howard whose husband Jamie owns the company. “We thought we could do it, and without any hesitation we just went, ‘We are going to do it .'”

They reached out to a local Ukrainian settlement organization and were soon connected to a mother with two daughters who needed a place to stay. They moved in two weeks ago.

“The daughter is in high school already, the other daughter is 18 months old she is doing her thing being a sweet little young girl, and the mother has landed a job at the local Thrifty Foods already working at the deli,” said Howard.

The second family, the Kovalivs, are landing at Vancouver International airport on Thursday. The couple has three young children, and when Howard told friends and colleagues that Woodbridge Homes would be offering them housing at The Moody, they wanted to help.

“It was instant, I didn’t even have to ask people. I just started talking about it, and before we knew it, we had people donating money, food, toys, clothing, kitchen, bedding, towels — you name it We had everything we needed,” said Howard. Other developers also donated the furniture.

With the second family soon to arrive, Howard just hopes they feel welcome in Canada.

“Getting those kids into school would be a big step for those parents, and if the community around them embraces them,” Howard said. “I think the biggest thing is feeling safe and comfortable.”

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