TOPEKA (KSNT) The first steps are being taken in Topeka to explore what can be done to position the Capital City to help Ukrainian refugees.
The Greater Topeka Partnership announced plans Friday morning to form a task force with the city and local leadership to explore ways to support Ukrainian refugees and support victims of future conflicts, according to a release.
Yana Ross, who relocated to Topeka from Ukraine 16 years ago, will lead the task force with Topeka City Council member Karen Hiller and Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce president Curtis Sneden.
“I am incredibly grateful for the support this community has already shown to the plight of the Ukrainian people,” Ross said. “Topeka is a loving and welcoming city. I have friends who are currently being housed in refugee camps in Poland. I am working hard to bring them over to stay with me during this crisis. I believe other Topekans would open their hearts and homes to those in need if there was an opportunity to do so.”
Hiller said she is encouraged by how the community is already stepping up to offer support. “This task force gives us an opportunity to explore how Topeka can be part of the solution by creating a sustainable process to support refugees during this conflict, and others in the future,” Hiller said.
“There are clearly many questions that still need to be answered,” said Matt Pivarnik, CEO of the Greater Topeka Partnership. “How would refugees travel here? What support will the federal government provide? Where can people be housed if they arrive? We look forward to helping facilitate these conversations and, hopefully, find a way to give some families in need a shelter during this dreadful storm.”
This comes after the White House announced it would allow up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to enter the U.S. To look for volunteer opportunities, go here.