Santa Monica homeowner offers house as temporary shelter for Ukrainian refugee family

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (KABC) — The start of a new year is a fitting time to steer ourselves towards where we want to be, but it’s usually not as complicated as it is for the Kovalchuks.

A Santa Monica homeowner has opened up his home to Petro, his wife, Olga and their three young children after they arrived in the states last March, just days after they fled from the war in Ukraine.

Ukrainian refugees arrive safely in SoCal after 2-week journey through eastern Europe and Mexico

The Kovalchuks are, by all measures, lucky and grateful.

“We have enough money, food stamps, for me, for adults and especially for kids,” Petro said. Their children are enrolled in school, doing the same after-school activities they did in Ukraine. But the house they’re staying at is just that – a house. It’s not home.

“There is no wonderful place that can give more good emotions than native lands,” he said.

Ukraine will always be home for them, but that home now has Russian troops spending several weeks targeting Ukraine’s power grid and Ukrainian troops fighting to regain power and electricity.

“We spoke with all of our friends, all of our relatives, and they are strong. They say, ‘no worry all is okay, we will win.’ Of course, I know that Ukraine will win, but how much Ukraine will pay for this?” Petro said.

They have become so used to asking the big questions that only time can answer. Questions like where will they be, and where will their home be in a year from now.

“I think I want to be anywhere where we feel support and happy,” Olga said.

The same Santa Monica homeowner is spreading the generosity that he gave to the Kovalchuks to several others. He has offered his place to stay in, rent free, for one year.

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