Forum: County residents have welcomed Ukrainians fleeing war

After one year of war, it’s heartening to know that 3,400 have found safety in Snohomish County.

By Van Dinh-Kuno / Herald Forum

On behalf of Refugee & Immigrant Services Northwest I want to extend my sincere appreciation and thanks to the community for helping our newest families make their home in Snohomish County.

Friday, Feb. 24, marked the first anniversary of the war in the Ukraine, bringing 16,000 Ukrainians to Washington state. Snohomish County, in turn, has welcomed 3,400 Ukrainians and ranks second behind King County in the state. This has been a huge undertaking as the conflict in Ukraine was not anticipated and the families who arrived came with little preparation and very limited English. We at RISNW could not have undertaken this resettlement work alone and are truly grateful to be a part of a community that rallied together with kindness and generosity to make this a successful resettlement effort.

While it is difficult to name everyone, I would like to acknowledge our foundation partners, including Evertrust and Howarth Foundation, the Assistance League of Everett, Coastal Community Bank, churches and temples of different faiths and denominations, numerous individual donors, and state and local government partners. In particular, I would like to call out the Snohomish County Human Services Department for its support and guidance.

We have helped 3,400 Ukrainians over the past 12 months. Five hundred families now have moved into their own apartments and 2,500 individuals have been provided with legal and immigration assistance to obtain such things as Temporary Protective Status, fee waivers, employment authorization and Social Security numbers. We continue to work with an additional 900 families to transition to permanent housing. Over 1,100 have gotten jobs in their path to self-sufficiency and their children are enrolled in schools within the Edmonds, Everett, Mukilteo, Marysville and Snohomish school districts. Over 1,000 parents are learning English at Edmonds College and Everett Community College.

I want to again publicly thank each and every person who has been a part of the collective effort to welcome and help our newly arrived Ukrainians transition to a new life in Snohomish County.

Van Dinh-Kuno is the executive director for Refugees and Immigrant Services Northwest at Everett Community College.

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