Ukrainian support center in Rīga to move location again

The support center for Ukrainian residents will no longer be located in Old Riga next year, but in bigger premises in Jugla, on Pāles Street 9, Latvian Radio reported December 21.

This is the fourth home for the refugee center in less than two years.

Riga Mayor Vilnis Ķirsis (New Unity) explained that the Center's move to the outskirts of the city is not an attempt to reduce support to Ukraine and its residents, but to expand and diversify it, because there will be room for new events that will facilitate Ukrainians' integration into Latvia.

Pēteris Grūbe, head of the Ukrainian refugee center, said that Old Riga's premises were expensive and the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, which had to fund them, did so with difficulty.

“The state pays the costs, it's getting harder and harder. The second – it will be two years from the beginning of the war, crisis aid is no longer necessary. We need to review who and how we help. Right now, we are beginning to go out to education, language learning, and socio-economic inclusion. The building on Amatu Street theoretically facilitated this, yet it was very narrow there,” Grūbe told LR.

He emphasized that all the services so far will be available in the new accommodation, as well as there is a gym and a large event hall. However, it is not close to the center of Riga – it is 30 minutes by tram plus 10 minutes by foot. But there will be car parking, which was a problem in Old Rīga.

Ukrainian refugees continue to arrive in Latvia, and more than 19,000 Ukrainians currently live in Riga. Around 500 visits to the center  are recorded per day.

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