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UKRAINE

How people in Sweden can offer housing to Ukrainians

Sweden does not yet have an official authority or register for those wishing to offer Ukrainian refugees a place to stay privately, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible.

How people in Sweden can offer housing to Ukrainians
Do you have an empty summer house which you'd like to offer to a family fleeing the war in Ukraine? Here's how. Photo: Fotograferna Holmberg/TT

The Migration Agency told The Local in a press conference that it is working on a solution to make this possible, but recommended that those able to offer housing do so via voluntary organisations instead.

One association you can contact if you want to rent out a room or property is CareBridge, a group offering buses from the Ukraine/Poland border to Sweden, where refugees are matched with hosts offering accommodation.

Their website includes a form where those interested in offering housing can sign up.

CareBridge told The Local via email that it places high important on safety and security for both host families and those arriving in Sweden. “At the moment we personally vet all the host families and check IDs at pick up. In a few weeks, we will have an app that will do the ID check through BankID. We also have a host team who checks in with refugees after they are settled to make sure they have what they need”.

“We collaborate with Refugees Welcome and other organisations,” CareBridge said. “We have a contact person on the Ukrainian side of the border who can find people who want to go to Sweden and match them with hosts even before they cross the border to Poland. On the bus we have a Ukrainian speaking host who can answer questions.”
 
Ukraine Take Shelter is another website offering this service. Their service is worldwide, and those wishing to offer housing can create an account to list their home or apartment and offer information such as whether children are welcome, what languages they speak, and how long refugees will be able to stay.

Another possible way to offer housing or lodging for Ukrainian refugees is by contacting Refugees Welcome directly – they have a Sweden-wide branch, but also local branches in Malmö, Stockholm and Lidköping, as well as a housing branch collecting donations towards rent payments for refugees.

Another method of offering housing is via this Facebook group, matching those seeking accommodation with those who can provide it. Christel Prinsén, the woman behind this Facebook group, is also currently working on building a website to make this process easier and safer, with identity verification to protect those applying for housing and those offering it.

If you are planning on renting out part of your home or your entire property, make sure you understand any rules from your housing association or landlord first, as well as any legal requirements. Here’s our guide.

Please don’t hesitate to get in contact with The Local at [email protected] or under this post if you know of any other ways in which private individuals can offer housing to Ukrainians looking for shelter.

Although we have done our best to verify these housing services, we recommend that anyone looking to offer or rent housing via a service listed above take precautions to verify the identity of anyone they will be staying with and ensure all legal documents are in order to provide a good environment for all parties involved.

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UKRAINE

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Ukraine won the Eurovision Song Contest Sunday with an infectious hip-hop folk melody, boosting spirits in the embattled nation fighting off a Russian invasion that has killed thousands and displaced millions of people.

Rapping, breakdancing Ukrainians win Eurovision in musical morale boost

Riding a huge wave of public support, Kalush Orchestra beat 24 competitors in the finale of the world’s biggest live music event with “Stefania”, a rap lullaby combining Ukrainian folk and modern hip-hop rhythms.

“Please help Ukraine and Mariupol! Help Azovstal right now,” implored frontman Oleh Psiuk in English from the stage after their performance was met by a cheering audience.

In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, the triumph was met with smiles and visible relief.

“It’s a small ray of happiness. It’s very important now for us,” said Iryna Vorobey, a 35-year-old businesswoman, adding that the support from Europe was “incredible”.

Following the win, Psiuk — whose bubblegum-pink bucket hat has made him instantly recognisable — thanked everyone who voted for his country in the contest, which is watched by millions of viewers.

“The victory is very important for Ukraine, especially this year. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Glory to Ukraine,” Psiuk told journalists.

Music conquers Europe

The win provided a much-needed morale boost for the embattled nation in its third month of battling much-larger Russian forces.

Mahmood & BLANCO  performing for Italy at Eurovision 2022

Mahmood & BLANCO perform on behalf of Italy during the final of the Eurovision Song contest 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP)

“Our courage impresses the world, our music conquers Europe!” he wrote on Facebook.

“This win is so very good for our mood,” Andriy Nemkovych, a 28 year-old project manager, told AFP in Kyiv.

The victory drew praise in unlikely corners, as the deputy chief of the NATO military alliance said it showed just how much public support ex-Soviet Ukraine has in fighting off Moscow.

“I would like to congratulate Ukraine for winning the Eurovision contest,” Mircea Geoana said as he arrived in Berlin for talks that will tackle the alliance’s expansion in the wake of the Kremlin’s war.

“And this is not something I’m making in a light way because we have seen yesterday the immense public support all over Europe and Australia for the bravery of” Ukraine, Geoana said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the win “a clear reflection of not just your talent, but of the unwavering support for your fight for freedom”.

And European Council President Charles Michel said he hoped next year’s contest “can be hosted in Kyiv in a free and united Ukraine”.

‘Ready to fight’
Despite the joyous theatrics that are a hallmark of the song contest, the war in Ukraine hung heavily over the festivities this year.
 
The European Broadcasting Union, which organises the event, banned Russia on February 25, the day after Moscow invaded its neighbour.
 
“Stefania”, written by Psiuk as a tribute to his mother before the war, mixes traditional Ukrainian folk music played on flute-like instruments with an invigorating hip-hop beat. The band donned richly embroidered ethnic garb
to perform their act.
 
 
Nostalgic lyrics such as “I’ll always find my way home even if all the roads are destroyed” resonated all the more as millions of Ukrainians have been displaced by war.

Kalush Orchestra received special authorisation from Ukraine’s government to attend Eurovision, since men of fighting age are prohibited from leaving the country, but that permit expires in two days.

Psiuk said he was not sure what awaited the band as war rages back home.

“Like every Ukrainian, we are ready to fight as much as we can and go until the end.

Britain’s ‘Space Man’

Ukraine beat a host of over-the-top acts at the kitschy, quirky annual musical event, including Norway’s Subwoolfer, who sang about bananas while dressed in yellow wolf masks, and Serbia’s Konstrakta, who questioned national healthcare while meticulously scrubbing her hands onstage.

Coming in second place was Britain with Sam Ryder’s “Space Man” and its stratospheric notes, followed by Spain with the reggaeton “SloMo” from Chanel.

After a quarter-century of being shut out from the top spot, Britain had hoped to have a winner in “Space Man” and its high notes belted by the affable, long-haired Ryder.

Britain had been ahead after votes were counted from the national juries, but a jaw-dropping 439 points awarded to Ukraine from the public pushed it to the top spot.

Eurovision’s winner is chosen by a cast of music industry professionals — and members of the public — from each country, with votes for one’s home nation not allowed.

Eurovision is a hit among fans not only for the music, but for the looks on display and this year was no exception. Lithuania’s Monika Liu generated as much social media buzz for her bowl cut hairdo as her sensual and elegant
“Sentimentai”.

Other offerings included Greece’s “Die Together” by Amanda Georgiadi Tenfjord and “Brividi” (Shivers), a duet from Italy’s Mahmood and Blanco.

Italy had hoped the gay-themed love song would bring it a second consecutive Eurovision win after last year’s “Zitti e Buoni” (Shut up and Behave) from high-octane glam rockers Maneskin.

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