LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine has spread across borders, and even continents, as Russia's invasion drives hundreds of thousands of people from their homes and into western nations, where they hope to find refuge.
Experts predicted as many as 4 million could be displaced by the conflict, and calls in Washington, D.C., from officials to bring Ukrainians into the U.S., even for a short time, have grown as the war escalates.
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In Las Vegas, where housing and land come at a premium, real estate agents worry that Southern Nevada isn't prepared to welcome people fleeing the atrocities of war.
"Where are they going to go?" said Kirby Scofield, owner of Scofield Realty.
Scofield said demand is high for the sparsely available housing in Southern Nevada, making the prospect of settling refugees in the Las Vegas valley a difficult one.
The low supply of homes and apartments has already led to record home prices and rising rent.
"There's a lot of people, the elderly, stuff like that, being priced out," he said.
Scofield said an influx of refugees likely wouldn't impact existing sellers as governments would be in charge of finding shelter for refugees.
He said his answer is groups need to step up to build and build fast.
"With refugees, we have to be humanitarians and our state, county, and federal government I believe will do that," he said. "As the community already here, we'll build around that."
Even before the current refugee crisis arose, the state announced a $500 million investment into affordable housing, and the Clark County Commission approved a measure Tuesday helping fund 602 new affordable units in seven complexes.
The U.S. State Department hasn't announced changes to visa or special status classifications for Ukrainian refugees as nearly 700,000 have fled the country and Europe bears the brunt of welcoming them in.