Rentals to Rescue supports refugees in Ukraine

US / Ukraine: Rentals to Rescue, a group of hospitality professionals, has revealed that it has helped to house ten families / people from funds raised back in March and April through a GoFundMe page.

So far, more than $12,000 has been raised on the page for Ukrainian refugees and the group is aiming to raise at least $50,000.

It follows calls by the UK government in August for more people to join the Homes for Ukraine scheme and take refugees into their homes, shortly after Ukraine’s Independence Day, which also marked the six-month anniversary of the Russian invasion of the country.

In response to the crisis, a number of travel and hospitality companies, groups, individuals and organisations stepped up to support refugees fleeing Ukraine.

It is estimated that at least 12 million people have fled their homes since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. More than five million people were forced to leave for neighbouring countries, and around seven million were internally displaced, leaving everything behind.

Many live under challenging conditions, in temporary accommodations, or with host families.

When news of the invasion first broke, Rentals to Rescue sought to find a way to provide humanitarian support for Ukrainian’s in need of temporary housing.

By 27 February, Brian Hamaoui and Matthew Loney, industry professionals and co-hosts of the GuestX Podcast, Wil Slickers, founder of Hospitality.FM, and product designer Thomas Kenyon launched Rentals to Rescue to begin raising money for Ukrainian’s forced from their homes.

The first of those funds have recently been distributed to the Ukrainian team of Intentful, an AI content development platform.

Intentful COO Bruce Amick said: “We are very grateful for the help of Wil, Matt, Brian and Thomas, and the entire Rentals to Rescue community. Our team’s safety is our top priority, and we are so appreciative for Rentals to Rescue’s assistance in helping our team members as they seek to re-establish their lives.”

In total, the Rentals to Rescue funds assisted more than ten families who were forced to flee their homes as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. Below are a few of their stories:

AI content manager Daria Nechaieva said: “The first day of the war was the most difficult. On 24 February, I woke up at about 5am when my roommate’s phone rang, and through the dream, from snippets of her conversation, I realised that what we all hoped would not happen, but expected, had begun.

“There were panicked calls to my parents who live on the southern border of the country and it was the first time I heard the sound of an air raid on the way to the subway. There were unsuccessful attempts to leave the city with friends, our daytime sleep was disturbed, we had a lack of understanding of how best to act and we needed to quickly make a bunch of important decisions.

“I spent the night in a bomb shelter, and only in the evening of the next day was I able to leave the city with my friend,” she added.

AI content manager Dina Tekhova said: “After living in a cellar in the heavily-shelled Kharkiv for a week, I had to leave my native city and my entire life behind. I then travelled to Poland first, then Berlin, then France, and spent many months on my own in Europe.

“After a while, the terror of air raids didn’t seem as scary as the constant and absolute loneliness, so I returned to Ukraine. Sadly, my native city is still under fire every day, and I can’t return or even visit home without endangering my life,” she added.

Anastasiya Lutsenko said: “Before the war, I lived in the Kharkiv region. Because of the Russian invasion and constant shelling in my home city, I was forced to relocate to a safer place.

“Although most of my friends and family left the country, I decided to stay relatively close to all the action to volunteer and support the local economy and see my partner, who is currently fighting in the Ukrainian Foreign Legion,” she added.

Content lead Anastasia Potakova said: “I had to evacuate from Kharkiv to the Lviv region after 11 days of constant living in the subway [the closest bomb shelter we had to our house]. My family is scattered around Ukraine now. My school, where I learned English and have amazing memories with friends, is gone.

“Most of the places I enjoyed around the city – gone. Some of the young Kharkiv natives I knew chose to become volunteers or protect our land with the army – gone. My childhood home is still standing, but no one really knows for how much longer.

“But we believe in Ukraine and are going nowhere. Slava Ukraini [Glory to Ukraine],” she added.

AI content manager Sofiia Ivanovska said: “My story with the Netherlands began in April of this year. I was looking for a country where I could hide from war, where I could feel safe, and which was at least somewhat familiar to me.
“I had been to the Netherlands once and was very impressed by the local culture, so the choice of the country was rather quick. We contacted a volunteer organisation that launched a programme to find guest families for Ukrainian refugees. We found a family that was ready to take us in for six months.
“What this country does to support refugees and give them temporary shelter is priceless,” she added.
Head of project management, Oleksander Kravchuk, said: “I had to move my wife, my son, and parents from Kyiv to a safer Latvia, and then kept on handling working projects in Ukraine and managing our Ukrainian team.”
AI content manager Kateryna Roche said: “It’s scary; we go down to the bomb shelter four or even six times a day. After photos from Bucha and other cities near Kyiv, we are even more terrified. After the missile bombing of Kremenchuk, my child, parents, and I had to move to a village in another part of Ukraine, further away from danger.
“But we believe in the Ukrainian army and hope that the war will soon be over and our families will be safe! Glory to Ukraine,” she added.
AI content manager Sofia Shiyanova said: “I had to relocate from my home in Kyiv to a house in the Carpathian mountains. My family and I moved there a few days after the war started.”
Intentful CTO Oleksander Scherban said: “I had to relocate all the family members from Kyiv to Germany, and I moved to a safer part of Ukraine [men cannot leave the country due to martial law].”
AI content manager Oleksandra Pavlova said: “I had to move my family from Odesa to a safer rural region to avoid missile attacks.”

To support Ukrainians who have been displaced by the war, you can donate to Rentals to Rescue at this link.