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Phoenix real estate agent finds housing for Ukrainian refugees

A Phoenix realtor is finding homes for Ukrainian refugees who need a place to stay in Europe.
Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 3:18 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- As people worldwide watch the crisis in Ukraine unfold, it’s tugging on their hearts. Oleg Bortman said he has distant relatives in both Ukraine and Russia, and watching the war play out on television has been tough on him.

“It’s kind of where all my culture and nationality comes from, so it’s very important to me what’s going on right now in Ukraine,” said Bortman, a realtor in Phoenix.

Bortman was born in Ukraine. “We came over to America in 1979,” said Bortman. “We were Jewish immigrants. We were trying to get out. We only had two options, to go to either Israel or America, and we were one of the last families out.”

Now, Bortman is using his skills and connections as a real estate agent to help refugees. “I’m blessed because I have a lot of clients that are in different levels of their life and different levels of business,” said Bortman. “What I’m trying to do is coordinate people that have connections in Europe with housing and jobs for the Ukrainians.”

Bortman is finding housing for the refugees in places like Poland, Hungary and Spain. “I know for the Ukrainian people right now, it’s better for them to be closer to Ukraine...because ultimately the people want to go back to their homeland,” said Bortman. “If you do have any housing, any part of Europe is great, but the closer you are to the Ukrainian border... it’s more helpful for refugees.”

Bortman said he’d found so many families willing to help with second homes in Europe. “It’s amazing how big the universe really is, but how small the world is,” said Bortman. “They always say the six degrees of separation for people. I know somebody who knows somebody, and it’s been amazing. Even the outreach of people in Arizona has been overwhelming. I’ve had so many people call me, email me and text me.”

He’s even putting together a list of people in Arizona who would be willing to house refugees. “I’ve created a big spreadsheet of people that have offered, so people even from Yuma, Phoenix, all parts of the Valley have reached out to me, offering their homes,” said Bortman.

Bortman said you could email him at oleg@thebrokery.com if you want to help.