Saaremaa Ukrainian war refugees accommodation to be made more permanent

Sõmera Home complex on Saaremaa earlier on this year.
Sõmera Home complex on Saaremaa earlier on this year. Source: ERR

A facility on the island of Saaremaa will soon offer long-term accommodation to refugees from Ukraine, ETV news show 'Aktuaalne kaamera' (AK) reported Tuesday.

The complex in Sõmera, run by the private-sector welfare services (Hoolekandeteenus) concern, has already been home to around a quarter of the 600 refugees currently residing on Saaremaa, but only on a temporary basis.

The facility will now offer up to 150 places on a long-term basis, AK reported.

Karl Mänd, property director at AS Hoolekandeteenus said: "We have signed a lease agreement with the Social Insurance Board for the use of these buildings, and from the proceeds of this agreement we will be conducting refurbishments."

"We are currently dividing these buildings as much as possible, so that apartment-like living units are created, where every person or every family can be comfortable and private and carry out their hygiene activities normally. sleep and cook for yourself," Mänd went on.

"We have agreed on a plan whereby the local government is ready to provide social services and educational services for 150 war refugees in Sõmera. The rest [of the facility] will be used as a transit zone, as temporary accommodation. This means that the people who arrive here will be here for a short time."

The refurbishment, which will lead to each unit being equipped with proper beds, cookers and refrigerators, will cost over €60,000.

Many people who had fled the war in Ukraine and stayed on the island did so on a temporary basis and often then find work or accommodation on the mainland, Gunnar Havi, the municipality's crisis advisor, said.

On the other hand, since longer-term accommodation is allocated by the municipality, it has led to short-term guests finding themselves with more security.

One guest, Svetlana, told AK that she had until now been unaware of news that she would not now be having to move out of the temporary accommodation, where she lives with her husband and two children. The shared apartment, which has already been renovated, will soon become their longer-term home.

"We have nowhere to look and nowhere else to go," said Svetlana, who fled the fighting in Mariupol with her family, told AK.

Since nearly 90 percent of Ukrainian refugees have found employment on Saaremaa, more stability in living arrangements is also to be welcomed, AK reported.

The welfare services have thus shelved earlier plans to sell off the complex.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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