The foothills is welcoming immigrants from Ukraine.
Lisa Degenstein is the Rural Settlement Program Manager for Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and Foothills Community Immigrant Services.
She says they have worked with two family groups that have arrived in Okotoks and they're anticipating two more in the near future and have also heard of other arrivals and are encouraging them or their hosts to reach out to their offices in Okotoks or High River for assistance.
"The thing about the Ukrainian arrivals is that, because this program of arrivals called the Canadian Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel is quite different, they're by and large left to their own devices to be hosted in Canada," Degenstein says. "That could be relatives but we're also hearing about many who've arranged to arrive to a host group that are unrelated but they've offered up accommodations."
She says that has been done through word of mouth, through friends or through social media which makes it difficult to track or to provide supports.
In Canada there's been about 200,000 applications and over 71,000 have been approved by the federal government.
A recent survey by Immigration, refugee, citizenship Canada where 10,000 applicants responded, most said they'll plan to stay at least three or more years and may consider making application for Permanent Residency.
"We have a large number of family groups arriving in Cochrane but they're not necessarily staying because small towns have some barriers that can be difficult to manage including transportation, access to employment and access to housing," Degenstein says "If you've got family, like immediate family they may be in a position to drive you around, if you need to get your kids to school or to daycare or to a job, but maybe somebody who is hosting is maybe not prepared to do that."
She suggests if anyone wants to donate to the families, they do so through regular channels like their local food bank, the Salvation Army or Mission Thrift Store.
"What we can help them with is acquiring important documents, like Alberta Health Care, status documents, driver's licence's as well as language training, community orientation, employment assistance and other supports." she says.
She says they can also help provide social, emotional and mental supports as well.