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Depaul International, parent organisation to Depaul Ukraine has launched an emergency appeal for Ukraine as millions flee and face shelling from Russian forces. The homelessness charity, which works in Odessa, Kharkiv and Ivano -Frankivsk territories, is remaining in place, offering emergency shelter, advice and food to homeless people across Ukraine, who are terrified as Russia launches a full-scale invasion. The charity is urgently appealing for funds as the situation escalates.

Father Vitaliy Novak CM, Chair of the Trustees for Depaul Ukraine, currently in Odessa described the situation, “There are missile strikes, one after the other, the roads are dangerous. Overnight they are predicting heavier fighting. In Kharkiv we are seeing tanks on our roads and there is regular shelling. Many people are sheltering in the metro stations underground. We are shocked and desperate.

But we stand firm, keeping our homeless shelters and services going, taking it in turns to visit and staying safe so we can keep supporting people. It is more important than ever before. We will not leave until we have no other choice. Homeless people here have no information– we are a lifeline to them, providing warmth, shelter, food and protection.”

The charity is launching an emergency appeal to fund emergency heating centres, extend its information services, provide food and access to outreach workers to those living on the streets as the situation worsens.

Depaul Ukraine was founded in 2007 as a response to the growing numbers of homeless people in the country and supported thousands of rough sleepers when Russia invaded in 2014, providing emergency accommodation, food, legal advice and support. Since then, staff have worked relentlessly to serve the thousands living on the streets with day centres, shelters, medical care, hot meals and access to skills and training as they battle temperatures as low as -20C, frostbite and lack of access to medical care.

It is predicted the invasion will trigger mass displacement and desperate conditions, leaving thousands without homes.

Father Vitaliy continues, “While some are sheltering in their hometowns, thousands are fleeing and thousands will lose their homes. There are huge traffic jams from Kharkiv towards Kiev and in Odessa. It is already happening. Tomorrow we will wake up and see how many are now homeless.”

The charity is urging people to donate to prevent an unthinkable loss of life.

Matthew Carter, CEO of Depaul International, said, “We are shocked and horrified for the people of Ukraine. This was a worst case scenario. Our Ukrainian staff are heroic in their unflinching commitment to keep serving the most vulnerable, in the face of a volatile and escalating situation. We are ensuring our staff are safe and well, and are eager to scale up our services as the needs dramatically increase. We would be grateful for any donations to ensure we can help all those who need it. Thank you so much.”

Please donate now to help a homeless person in Ukraine:

£10 pays for lunches for 50 people

£20 covers the cost of 4 people visiting our day centre, accessing crucial services

£50 keeps a heating tent for 40 people running for a night

£75 covers the cost of an outreach worker for a week