It’s been about two weeks since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Since then, millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes to safety.
But where exactly is safety?
Mike Tedesco, President & CEO of Vision Together 2025, says that safe place could be Johnstown.
“This is a conversation about how we treat our fellow humans on this planet,”
Vision Together 2025 received a $100,000 grant from a private donor at the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies.
Organizers say this will “build capacity” to welcome Ukrainian immigrants to the Johnstown area.
“Most of the heritage of Johnstown comes from Eastern European nations. I would imagine that model of resettling from Eastern Europe into Johnstown even though it happened roughly 100 years ago and several generations ago that model still applies,”
Vision officials say they’ll use the funding to “create and execute a resettlement plan” that will welcome newcomers to Greater Johnstown.
“Vision Together will administer the framework to bring displaced individuals, newcomers, households, families, to the Greater Johnstown area. Match them up with housing, match them up with good employment, get them settled,” Tedesco said.
Community Foundation for the Alleghenies officials released the following statement, saying in part:
This humanitarian effort is a direct response to the astounding magnitude of the Ukrainian crisis. This donor wants to help people in their greatest time of need, as well as to provide a structure to help people who will get jobs here, live here, shop here, raise families here, and pay taxes here. This donor envisions these families becoming part of the American success story, like so many of our own families in the Johnstown area.
Vision Together 2025 will be working closely with immigration agencies for this initiative.
Tedesco says he doesn’t know exactly how many Ukrainian families or individuals they will be drawing to the Greater Johnstown region.
“We’re still doing diligence on our end. As the picture becomes more clear, we’ll continue to communicate with the community about how the situation is unfolding and what the perspective projection is for placing new households within Johnstown,”