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B.C. provides hardship assistance for displaced Ukrainian refugees

B.C. government has announced monthly financial assistance to Ukraine citizens fleeing the invasion of their home country  and arriving in B.C.

According to the B.C. government, Ukrainian who arrive under the federal Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) can apply for up to six months of “hardship assistance”.

A news release from the B.C. governments states “Eligibility for hardship assistance is based on need and can be as much as $935 per month (single person), as much as $1,770 per month (family of four), as much as $1,358.50 per month (single person with a disability) and as much as $2,193.50 per month (family of four, one adult is a person with a disability).”

Nathan Cullen Minister of Municipal Affairs spoke at a conference to announce the hardship assistance.

“The ministry has changed the BC Employment and Assistance Program requirements to allow Ukrainians who arrive in B.C. under the CUAET, and other people who arrive under similar circumstances, to receive temporary financial assistance as they work to settle into their new communities”

The government said this “important step guarantees that displaced Ukrainians will have their most immediate needs addressed while they are resettling in our province.”

To date, more than 185 displaced Ukrainians have accessed WorkBC employment services.

According to Natalie Jatskevich, president, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Over 200,000 Ukraine’s have applied for Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) and 10% to 11%, roughly 20,000 displaced Ukrainians will be coming to British Columbia.

Natalie Jatskevich said the Ukraine refugees will be settling in several regions of the province like the Metro Vancouver area, Kelowna and Victoria.

Metro Vancouver is seeing the lowest vacancy rates at 1.2 per cent and and highest monthly rents (an average of $2,498 for a two-bedroom condo) reported by CBC in February.

In March John Horgan acknowledged housing is the “number one challenge”. Horgan floated the idea of limiting student housing and making some available for Ukraine refugees instead of students.

According to CMHC in 2021 the major city centres on B.C. reported low vacancy rates, Vancouver 1.2%, Kelowna 0.6%, Victoria 1%, Vernon 0.8% while the overall vacancy rate for British Columbia was 1.4%

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