As the heartbreaking situation continues to unfold in Ukraine, countries and companies around the world are pledging to do their part in helping the people of the Eastern European destination. Case in point: Airbnb, who has announced that it will offer free temporary housing to up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees all around the world.
"At Airbnb, our sort of superpower is our host community and the homes that they have to provide. We saw a need and over the weekend worked really quickly to work with our partner organizations on the ground to be able to house 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, for free," said Christopher Nulty, a company spokesperson, in an official statement to Fox8. "We’ve done this over the last decade; we’ve housed about 55,000 refugees globally. In the last six months, we’ve housed about 21,000 Afghan refugees in the United States. So we’ve done this before, but just never at the scale that we’re about to undertake in Eastern Europe."
The spokesperson explained that the company has reached out to the governments of Germany, Hungary, Poland and Romania to offer their support. Airbnb has plans to extend the program to other destinations but will start with these five countries for now.
Airbnb is specifically working with humanitarian and refugee settlement organizations in their efforts, which are being paid via donations to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund alongside aid from actual platform hosts. "Our goal here is to get as many folks into safe housing as possible," said Christopher. "We’ve also heard from a lot of hosts who have said I’m willing to do this for free, which is just incredible. But, we understand that for many hosts, that’s just not possible. And so we’re stepping up and covering those stays."
Independent nonprofit Airbnb.org first launched post-Hurricane Sandy, effectively trying to provide temporary housing for people dealing with crisis. Just last week, the nonprofit announced that it was working to provide 21,300 Afghan refugees with short-term housing solutions.
Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers news, entertainment, lifestyle, culture, food, travel and more. Read more of her work at annabenyehuda.com.
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