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City awaits funding commitment as displaced Ukrainian families start arriving in Hamilton

Hundreds rallied in support of Ukraine in front of Hamilton city hall in late February. Lisa Polewski / 900 CHML

The city is looking for funding commitments from the federal and provincial governments, as displaced Ukrainians start arriving in Hamilton.

Staff are projecting a cost of $670,000 each month to support the needs of dozens of Ukrainian families, including temporary accomodation and other services within the city.

Read more: Response team estimates over 100 Ukrainian refugees now in Hamilton

Stoney Creek Coun. Brad Clark fears local taxpayers will be left on the hook, because of a “jurisdictional war” between the upper levels of government.

“We’re doing what we should be doing as municipality, as a compassionate municipality,” says Clark, noting that immigration is a federal responsibility.

Read more: Ontario announces supports for Ukrainian refugees who come to the province

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“The federal government should have been stepping up from the get-go,” stresses Clark, “and ensure there was a policy and a plan in place to fund this.”

Click to play video: 'Ontario announces $300M more in support for Ukraine, priority travel processing for refugees' Ontario announces $300M more in support for Ukraine, priority travel processing for refugees
Ontario announces $300M more in support for Ukraine, priority travel processing for refugees – Apr 6, 2022

The province has promised $300 million to help welcome Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion, but city staff told councillors that it’s unclear how those dollars will be allocated.

Council passed a motion during it’s meeting on Wednesday, through which it hopes to work with local MPs and MPPs to get those answers.

Read more: Trudeau says Canada will support Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’

Dundas Coun. Arlene Vanderbeek is among those seeking assurance that money is coming to offset Hamilton’s resettlement costs.

“We have people in this city, who live here, who are waiting for somewhere to live and we can’t give it to them,” notes Vanderbeek, “on the other hand we have an emergency, and I think we all want to help.”

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