A hotel owner in FLORIDA is offering Ukrainian refugees free accommodation if they are allowed to enter the United States from their war-torn country as Putin’s senseless invasion rages on.
Avi Rosner, 36, told The Sun he was ‘heartbroken’ by the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe and wanted to provide a place of refuge for any innocent Ukrainians fleeing the bloodshed .
While it’s still unclear how many refugees the Biden administration will allow entry, if any, Rosner said his 156-room hotel will be open to all Ukrainians who cross the Atlantic and need help. a place to sleep.
The hotel, unoccupied since 2015, can accommodate more than 300 people at a time. It also has an on-site restaurant, bar and Olympic-size swimming pool.
Rosner said the property has been on the market for several years but so far has not found a buyer.
Until then, he said he would be prepared to allow Ukrainian refugees to live there rent-free while they try to get back on their feet.
“That’s my form of charity,” Rosner told The Sun, “and in Hebrew, charity is called Tzedakah.
“The word tzedakah derives from the Hebrew word tzedek which means justice.
“Right now the world is coming together to see justice done and giving charity will bring us all closer to that goal.”
Rosner, a New York native, spent several years buying, renovating and flipping hotels in the Sunshine State before leaving the United States to live in the Czech Republic with her fiancé a few years ago.
Before he left, he never managed to sell one of his properties, The Florida Hotel, a 60,000-square-foot resort in Jacksonville, Florida, about 140 miles from Disney World.
“Unfortunately it needs some work to get it back to how I had it,” Rosner said.
“But there’s a dire situation in the world for housing right now. And I thought that would be the best way to use it until I could find a buyer or some other goal.”
Rosner said he was looking for a contractor to partner with to revamp the property into a more livable state for refugee families.
During the hotel’s heyday, Rosner used to charge guests around $60 per night for a room and often had families of up to four people staying in the rooms, sometimes for weeks.
All rooms overlook a courtyard in a resort-style layout, surrounding the hotel swimming pool.
However, the hotel has been closed for a few years, having suffered various acts of vandalism and burglary during this period.
But after a bit of a nip, Rosner said he hopes in the next three months the hotel can be bustling again, filled with those who need it most.
“Some countries welcome refugees with open arms and facilitate their arrival, and we should do the same,” Rosner said.
“The hotel would provide these people with a temporary and safe place to stay, because with the photos of Ukraine you see online, they are sleeping in malls or metro stations – wherever they can stay warm and safe from danger.
“But they don’t have access to water, TV or internet, they don’t have food to eat…but in the hotel they might have those things.”
A “HUMAN NEED”
Rosner, who visited the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv a few years ago, said he was “devastated” by the ongoing war and the “emotional trauma” it has inflicted on millions of innocent people.
“I can’t even put it into words,” he said. “It’s sad that two neighbors can’t get along.
“The fact that war could even happen in 2022 is kind of pathetic.”
Rosner said he was determined to try to make a positive difference in the lives of those directly affected by war, calling it a “basic human need”.
“People’s needs are there and they have to be met,” he said. “Ukrainians have had their lives turned upside down almost overnight…they send their wives and children with some valuables, not knowing when they will see them again.”
Rosner added: “And all of that made me think, ‘What am I doing?
“I have been sitting on this property for a few years which has brought in no income and has only caused expense and heartache to myself, due to vandalism and theft.
“And there are all these families who were thrown out of their homes overnight.
“It’s like having a car that I’m not using and someone has to go to the hospital,” he said. “The keys are there and I’m happy to give them to anyone who needs them.”
Last week, the White House said the United States was ready to accept Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion, while signaling that Europe should be its main destination.
More than half a million Ukrainians have fled to neighboring countries, including Poland, Moldova and Slovakia, in what the United Nations has called “Europe’s biggest refugee crisis of this century”.
According to the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), a Washington-based think tank, Ukrainians can travel to the European Union without a visa for up to 90 days, an immediate route to refuge.
Political parties in the United States and Europe have fought to accept refugees in recent years.
In the United States, Republicans have pushed for more immigration restrictions as they seek to take control of Congress in the November election.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration recently approved $54 million in humanitarian aid for Ukraine, and Congress plans to release an additional $2.9 billion.
Anyone wishing to help Avi with her disappearance is asked to email her at [email protected]
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?