In the 12 months since the Ukraine war began, thousands have been displaced. Habitat for Humanity has helped these refugees and displaced families access safe accommodation and housing.
When the shelling began in March 2022, Lada fled her home in Ukraine’s second largest city Kharkiv, carrying with her two walking poles, nothing else. Two weeks later, she arrived in Hungary, having traveled through Romania. Once in Budapest, she relied on donations, sharing her accommodations with other refugee women. Her world upended, Lada clung to donated kitchen utensils as a semblance of her own possessions, all of which had been either lost or left behind.
“As we shared the kitchen, the other women often used my donated kitchen tools when cooking,” Lada says. “It might sound silly, but this hurt me very much. It was important to me to feel that these things were only mine. I just wanted to feel that I owned something.”
Through the joint rental support program of Habitat for Humanity Hungary and partner From Streets to Homes! association, Lada finds not only financial support to secure housing, but also in-kind support such as appliances and other supplies. The program also offers Lada social work services, which help stabilize her long-term housing situation. Six months after fleeing Kharkiv, she says she finally is starting to feel at home.
“I need care and support, and I need to feel that I have a little corner to put my stuff,” Lada says. “I was eager to feel that I own something. I’m so grateful and happy that I finally have a home. I’m calm here, and I can finally sleep. I’d like to stay here for a long time.”
As we pass the 1-year mark of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we must focus our attention on the action that needs to be taken to provide long-term housing options for refugees. Find out more in a recent report: https://www.habitat.org/emea/housing-ukrainian-refugees-europe