NAMPA, Idaho — The Idaho Alliance for Ukrainian Refugees and Immigrants (IAURI) is opening their Ukrainian Welcome Center in Nampa Saturday with help from the Boise Rescue Mission.
IAURI estimated that 200 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Idaho after leaving the war in their home country. More than 30 of those families are already working directly with IAURI.
The welcome center aims to be a hub for resources, according to IAURI Director of Outreach Tina Polishchuk. It will offer services such as education, housing, assistance with documentation, food, clothes, and transportation.
The welcome center is made possible through partnerships with local churches, International Rescue Committee, and the Idaho Office for Refugees, according to Polishchuk.
IAURI recently made contact with the Boise Rescue Mission. The Boise Rescue Mission operated a Nampa shelter - known as the Lighthouse - that recently started seeing a decline in guests.
That same Lighthouse location, on 304 16th Ave. N. in Nampa, is now home to the welcome center.
"We're in it for the long haul," Boise Rescue Mission CEO Rev. Bill Roscoe said. "We don't know how long this is gonna be. We don't know how long the war is going to go on or how long people are going to stay in the states. But as long as the need is there, the need is present, the rescue mission will be alongside the alliance in service to the Ukrainian people."
With the welcome center's location formally serving as a shelter, Ukrainian refugees may stay at the welcome center temporarily, according to Polishchuk. Ukrainians should not be staying at the center for more than a month before finding a more permanent housing option, Polishuck said.
"The stories of these individuals are remarkable. So one goal of ours is to be one place where they can come to have reliable information, they have reliable resources," Polishchuk said. "This can be a place that represents some sense of stability and normalcy in their life. Something they haven't seen since the war has started."
IAURI estimates volunteers have donated roughly 250 hours per week over the last several weeks. They anticipate more volunteers and hours will be needed.
The grand opening for the Ukrainian Welcome Center is set for May 28th from 10 am to 2 pm.
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