The work of the Ukraine Relief Coalition — of which Mennonite Brethren from Pacific Keep Church and Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church are a part — continues as Ukrainian refugees arrive in Spokane, Wash.
Displaced by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 150 refugees have found temporary housing at Thrive Center, a previously vacant Quality Inn.
Ukraine Relief Coalition partner Thrive International secured the building through a grant from the state of Washington.
The 150-room building contains a commercial kitchen, conference room, dining areas and pool and serves as subsidized transitional housing for refugees awaiting work authorization. The first refugee families checked in June 7. By mid-July, the hotel was at 93% capacity, said URC member Violet Tsyukalo.
The URC is working with government officials to expedite the work authorization process, which can take up to six months.
Members of the URC are administering grant funds to provide one-time financial assistance to refugees for housing payments, food, clothing and household items. The URC has processed nearly 200 applications for assistance. Thrive has also received 40 full-size refrigerators for hotel residents.
The work of Thrive International and the URC prompted a visit from U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who toured Thrive Center in late June.
Local representatives, including county commissioners, the fire department and law enforcement, as well as several hundred Spokane residents, attended a grand opening for Thrive Center on July 16.
The ceremony featured vocal and instrumental performances as well as a choir of local Slavic musicians.
Boris Borisov, pastor of the Mennonite Brethren congregation Pacific Keep Church, shared about the grant and obtaining the hotel. Local pastors, including MB pastor Alexandr Kaprian, prayed for the refugees.