Ukrainian refugees in host families: No end in sight

No privacy, shared kitchen and bathroom, increased extra costs – for Ukrainian host families and refugees, the long-term improbable situation is unpleasant. Most hosts actually live alone in a very small space. Just like Sanne Kurz from Munich. Her family is five years old in a small terraced house with couples of babysitters. A family of four from Ukraine has been living with them for three months. I fled to Munich from Mykolaiv in eastern Ukraine in early March.

Nine people have been sharing a bathroom and kitchen for three months

For this, Green MPs Sunny Kurtz and her husband disinfected the bedroom and moved under the roof. Ukrainian Tetiana now lives there with her husband and two children, 10 and 13. The little room is their sanctuary, this is where daughter Lali and son Luca do their homework, and this is where they all sleep together. The Ukrainian family is grateful for the hospitality of Sanne Kurz and her family. But she also has a bad conscience and doesn’t want to be a burden.

Many are uncomfortable with accepting hospitality

Titiana quickly learned the German word “thank you”. Over and over again she thanks her host family. Sanne Kurz is almost uncomfortable. Right at the start of the war, the 47-year-old took another family of six from Ukraine. They left again a week later because they were too embarrassed to have to live in someone else’s house, says Sunny Curtis, shaking her head. The Ukrainian mother cleaned every day to calm her conscience. Then they moved to government housing, where the young son fell ill and had to go to the hospital.

Ukrainians desperately need an apartment

time is running out. The host family needs the room again because the adult son will come home after a long time. They are urgently looking for an apartment for the Ukrainian family. In Munich there is almost hopeless. The situation burdens everyone. Sanne Kurz will never kick out her guests. “It puts an enormous pressure on all of us. It’s only difficult when there is no perspective.” She has grown fond of the Ukrainian family. She helps fill out forms for the Bavarian authorities and looks for a school and sports club for children.

Diakoni Host Families Assistance Offers

Many feel the same way as the Kurz family and their Ukrainian guests, reports Sabine Pankow of Diakonie Munich and Upper Bavaria. She runs the “Zazam” volunteer center in the center of Munich. The 41-year-old notes that the atmosphere in the host families is mixed, and things are still going well for some, but problems are also growing. Therefore, Diakonie has prepared offers of assistance. In addition to the Ukrainian helpline on behalf of the city of Munich, there are now regular meetings of host families, Ukrainian language courses, and workshops on Ukrainian culture and legal issues.

Expert tip: Address problems openly

Sabine Bankauf asserts that the state of living with the uncertainty of having no perspective is the same for everyone. Her advice: set the rules right from the start, be transparent, and talk to each other, especially when there are difficulties. The city of Munich and other cities and municipalities in Bavaria support offers of assistance from associations and organizations as much as possible.

Ukrainian Titiana and her family are preparing for a longer stay in Bavaria. Children go to school here now. The son in the judo club. But the homesickness remains. Her greatest wish: that the war finally end. Ten-year-old Luka calls out – in Russian: “And your own apartment!” Everyone laughs at the large common dining table.

This is where host families and Ukrainian refugees get help:

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