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Old hotel set to become permanent living for Ukrainian refugees

The new space will be called the Thrive Center.

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Old Quality Inn by East Fourth Avenue is being transformed into the Thrive Center.

The Thrive Center is meant to give Ukrainian refugees a permanent place to live. And the old hotel rooms in this building will eventually be transformed into an apartment complex.

When Russia attacked Ukraine five months ago Spokane saw an influx of Ukrainian refugees. Many of them didn’t have a place to live.

That’s when Thrive International jumped at the idea of turning a vacant hotel and making it a permanent home for them.

Mark Finney, is the executive director of Thrive International. He said, “Well this is fantastic, there happened to be this hotel that was available. We talked to the owners, they bought it, looking to remodel it. It was empty but still totally usable. And they really liked the idea of working with Ukrainians and helping the refugee crisis.”

Thrive International provides support and resources for Ukrainian refugees. This includes English classes and medical services.

One of the center’s new residents says she’s grateful for the support.

“I’m really happy to live here and I’m grateful everyday that I see very kind people around me because all Ukrainian refugees now need the support in this difficult time,” said Maria Kukoba, a Thrive Center resident.

Saturday’s celebration recognizes the Thrive Center as a community asset and as a refuge for Ukrainian families in need.

The center’s designed to be temporary housing for families needing to get back on their feet.

Center staff say this wouldn’t be possible without a partnership with fortify holdings, the owner of the building.

Sean Tylerkeys, the CEO of Fortify Holdings, said, “This pretty amazing in the sense that we are creating a refugee community within the community of Spokane. If that’s not living out our mission, I don’t know what is.”

One floor of the building is already being renovated into apartment type rooms.

Thrive International not only focuses on the Thrive Center. They’ve also helped families settle in other housing.

“They did a lot for us. They helped us rent a flat," said Olay Kulabukhov, a Ukrainian refugee. “They helped us to find furniture for our flat. They helped with everything. With all this bedding stuff, kitchen stuff, with our kids.”

A generous donation also helped residents live for free over the past two months.

While they will have to start paying after, rates will be lower than the city average.

So this process was in place since the Russian attack on Ukraine in February.

And people are already moving in to the hotel, and from what I’ve been told they’re almost full.

But if people still want to move in they can fill out an online application with Thrive International.

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