Sponsors needed for Ukrainian families (2024)

On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine; just the most recent in a decade-long series of conflicts.

According to statsia.com, between Feb. 24, 2022 and Feb. 15, 2024, there have been more than 10,500 civilian casualties — 587 of them children — and nearly 20,000 injured civilians.

Countries across the world have accepted Ukrainian refugees, including the United States.

In February of 2023, a crowd packed the YMCA Test Kitchen to learn from Bob Bartles, of Burlington, about the possibility of sponsoring Ukrainian families to travel to Fort Madison to live and work and become part of the community.

For a family from Kiev, that’s more than 5,200 miles.

Linda and Rick Larkin are sponsors, along with Linda Smith, Matt and Beth Mohrfeld, Kirsten and Joel Bobb, Jim and Krys Plate.

Larkin said Bill and Monica Schulte are in the process of sponsoring a family.

There is a big need for sponsors in Fort Madison right now, Larkin said.

“There’s 10 families in Ukraine right now that want to come to the southeast Iowa area but we need sponsors,” she said.

Larkin said she would be willing to help people who are interested in becoming sponsors. There’s a lot of paperwork to be done.

“It’s not intuitive,” she said. “You fill out all the paperwork and then you sit back and wait. And you also have to pick a family. And then that family is vetted on the other end. And it’s each individual person. So if you have a 2, 3, 4, and 5-year-old, if the 2-year-old doesn’t get vetted for one reason or another, the whole family’s not going to come.

These families, Larkin said, just want to be independent.

“They want to get a job,” she said. “And every one of the families that are here now are working. They’re hard workers, they’re just amazing people. I just wish that we could have more people show an interest in doing it (sponsoring).

Larkin applied in February of 2023, and the family she sponsored — Natalie Karpyshyn and her son, Max — didn’t get approved until the end of July.

“I knew she was coming. I kind of picked out an apartment not far from where I lived and the landlord was very helpful to work and hold it for me,” she said. “But I was in Florida on vacation with my family when I found out about it, that Natalie got approved, and then I got sick with COVID. “

Karpyshyn wanted to come before the start of school in August. Larkin was worried, since it was the last few days of July, that “this is going to be a crash and burn.”

She didn’t know how she was going to get a whole apartment furnished and ready to go in that amount of time, with being stuck in isolation for 10 days.

Larkin reached out for help on Facebook.

“People donated chairs and tables and household goods and you name it. I was just overwhelmed,” she said. “And it made me so proud of our entire community. It was such a good feeling. People helped me clean, they helped me get things set up. When I went to Chicago to pick her up, somebody made a meal and had it ready so there would be food for her when she got here. It was just a great experience and it’s continued to be a great experience in helping her navigate the system. Because there’s so many systems out there that they need to know.”

Since she’s been through it all before, Larkin said, she would be a good and willing mentor to other people who might want to be a sponsor but is worried about taking those steps alone.

And she’s not the only one.

“I like to travel and when I was gone in January, February, March the other sponsors all stepped up and helped,” she said. “So we’re kind of a little community of our own and helping each other. It is a very worthwhile experience.”

One of the requirements of sponsorship is to have some financial resources just to be able to help the refugee family if needed.

“We were fortunate enough to be able to do that,” she said. “I think they ask you have at least $9,000. Natalie has never asked me for a dime.”

It’s not really a financial burden, Larkin said.

“It kind of sounds like it at first because you have to find them a place to live. Although there have been sponsors who have had families move in with them,” she said. “It’s very do-able. That would be fine. And then that family helps in figuring out their own place.”

There is a lot of support available, Larkin said, such as World Relief in the Quad Cities.

“[They] helped us try to navigate some of the systems that we didn’t know. They were very helpful with that,” she said. “So there are organizations out there that can help too. But I think the best support is the local support from people that you know.”

Larkin is worried about one Ukrainian family in particular right now, she said.

“They live in a border town that’s bombed all the time, and [the man] said his house has been damaged and he didn’t want to leave Ukraine but he’s afraid that one of his family members will be killed,” she said. “And I just don’t know what it’s like to live in that kind of fear every day.”

This is their story: Alexander Skoryk and his wife, Valentina, have a 14-year-old daughter, Taisia and a 9-year-old son, Kyrill. Alexander has a background in teaching and attended grad school before his studies were interrupted by the war. Valentina has two higher education degrees in law and economics. Taisia enjoys dance, Kyrill loves sports.

“But there is no such opportunity for my children yet because we are from Kharkiv City and mostly all sections are closed. Since we are from a front line city, we are very often shelled,” Alexander wrote. “I and my family since the beginning of the war did not go anywhere and did not leave my favorite city Kharkiv, but the circ*mstances have developed in such a way that we can no longer physically or morally withstand the constant air raid alert and shelling from the aggressor. My family cannot develop and live a full life because our house is damaged and my children are constantly hiding in the basem*nt during the shelling.”

Those who have questions or are interested in becoming a sponsor are welcome to email Larkin at iowawoman@gmail.com.

“These people are so hard working,” Larkin said, “and just want to have a better life for their family.”

Sponsors needed for Ukrainian families (2024)


Sponsors needed for Ukrainian families? ›

On April 21, 2022, the United States announced the Uniting for Ukraine program to provide a pathway for Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members to stay in the United States for a two-year period, known as “parole.” Ukrainians must have a supporter in the United States who agrees to financially support ...

How do I find a Ukrainian family to sponsor? ›

Find someone to sponsor

If you need to be connected to Ukrainians seeking refuge in the U.S., create a profile on Welcome Connect.

Do you get paid if you sponsor a Ukrainian family? ›

Payments to sponsors

Sponsors who have hosted for over six months can receive an extra £200 per month. This is paid for months 7 to 36. The payments are back dated to when the guests first arrive, paid monthly in arrears. In October 2023 the government announced the extension of the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

Can I sponsor a Ukrainian refugee family? ›

Family Sponsorship

IRCC will prioritize applications if the family member you're sponsoring is: a Ukrainian national outside Canada and one of the following family members: your spouse or common-law or conjugal partner. your dependent child (including adopted children)

Who can be a sponsor for uniting for Ukraine? ›

Supporters who file Form I-134A on behalf of a beneficiary under Uniting for Ukraine must be in lawful status in the United States or a parolee or beneficiary of deferred action or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) and willing and able to receive, maintain, and support the beneficiary listed in Form I-134A.

What is the income for u4u? ›

What income level is required to become a sponsor? Sponsors must meet 125% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines income level for their household size.

Do Ukrainian refugees get money in USA? ›

Refugee Cash Assistance (RCA)

From their date of eligibility (May 21, 2022, or the date they received humanitarian parole, whichever is later), Ukrainian humanitarian parolees may receive up to 12 months of RCA to help meet their most basic needs, such as food, shelter, and transportation.

How much do you get paid for hosting Ukrainian family? ›

Sponsors of Ukrainian guests on a Homes for Ukraine visa are eligible for a monthly payment from the UK government as a thank you for hosting. Sponsors will receive £350 a month during the first 12 months of their guests' stay.

How much does it cost to host an Ukrainian family? ›

If you don't know who you want to host, you can sign up to be matched with one or more people. Your local council will give you a £350 'thank you payment' each month while you host someone. This will go up to £500 each month after a year, until the end of the second year.

Can I sponsor a family from Ukraine to USA? ›

U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) can sponsor a family member through the Lautenberg Program. A qualifying familial relationship for the program is defined as spouse, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, and grandchildren.

How much is paid to house Ukrainian refugees? ›

The Accommodation Recognition Payment (ARP) is a tax-free payment of €800 per month for each property used to provide accommodation to refugees from Ukraine. The payment increased to €800 per month from 1 December 2022. The accommodation must be provided for at least 6 months and meet the required standards.

What are the requirements of a sponsor for U4U? ›

Sponsors can be U.S. citizens, permanent residents or other lawfully present individuals. This includes individuals on Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and refugees. Groups of sponsors, nonprofits, educational institutions, and employers can also help sponsor people fleeing Ukraine.

How much money does a Ukrainian refugee get? ›

In 2024, Ukrainians will be able to receive a maximum of $291 per person, $535 per family of two and $766 per family of three. If you have certain income or assets, or receive cash assistance, your SNAP amount may be less.

Can Ukrainian refugees stay in US permanently? ›

If I Have Been Granted Asylum, May I Apply for Permanent Residence in the U.S.? You may apply for permanent residence, also known as a Green Card, one year after being granted asylum. To apply for a Green Card, file an Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status on Form I-485.

How long does it take to get u4u approval? ›

It may take USCIS up to three months to review form I-134A and issue a decision. If USCIS is satisfied with the supporter's I-134A application, it will send a CONFIRM Notice to the Ukrainian beneficiary by email.

Can men leave Ukraine? ›

Under martial law, men are only able to leave Ukraine if they qualify for specific exemptions, including having more than three children under the age of 18 or being unfit for military service. Only men 27 and older can be conscripted into the military, but they are able to voluntarily enlist at the age of 18.

How can I find my Ukrainian relatives? ›

What are the best resources and organizations to help me find my Ukrainian Roots?
  1. Genforum. http://genforum.genealogy.com/ukraine/ ...
  2. Genealogy and Lost Relative Searches Agencies Tracing Roots and/or Relatives in Ukraine. ...
  3. Genealogical Primer By Susanne M. ...
  4. Genealogy By Thread. ...
  5. Other Relevant Genealogical Sites. ...
  6. World Genweb.

How much does it cost to host Ukrainian refugees? ›

Although most hosts accommodate Ukrainians out of solidarity and compassion, it said the ARP, which is currently paid at €800 per month, is a fundamental tool in facilitating and sustaining hosting as a viable option.

Is uniting for Ukraine still available? ›

Uniting for Ukraine is available to eligible Ukrainian citizens and their non-Ukrainian immediate family members with a valid passport. Non-Ukrainian immediate family members must be traveling to the United States with the Ukrainian citizen.

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