Vacation rental company, Airbnb, is offering free, temporary housing for up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees according to CNBC. The co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, shared on Twitter that they need more people who can offer their homes in countries near Ukraine including Poland, Germany, Hungary, and Romania to meet their goal of aiding thousands of refugees. The Associated Press reports that more than 500,000 Ukrainians have fled the country since the beginning of the war with Russia.
Supporting refugees is not new for Airbnb which operates this outreach through their nonprofit, Airbnb.org. Over the last five years, they have provided temporary housing for over 54,000 refugees including those from Syria, Venezuela, and Afghanistan. In September, Airbnb offered temporary housing to 40,000 Afghan refugees following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban. They have reportedly aided 21,300 Afghan refugees through this outreach. The initiative is funded by donations to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, and with help from Airbnb hosts.
The idea for what is called the Open Homes initiative came from an Airbnb host in 2012. According to their website, Shell, an Airbnb host from Brooklyn, contacted the company following the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy to inquire about offering her home to evacuees to stay for free. The Airbnb team worked quickly to grant this request and the gesture was taken up by 1,000 more hosts.
With the mission to “unlock the power of sharing space, resources, and support in times of need,” Airbnb is committed to a humanitarian mission that thousands of hosts have embraced. While providing refugees with shelter, Airbnb hosts are also warming the hearts of those they help through their compassionate generosity. Airbnb has proven that individuals with big hearts can make a difference in the lives of others, not just by serving their needs, but by providing them with hope and faith.