Online hosting platform Airbnb said it would offer 20,000 Afghan refugees free accommodation to help resettle them around the world.
The company’s CEO, Brian Chesky, said the move was a response to “one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our era” and that it was his responsibility to do something to help.
“I hope this will inspire other companies to do the same. We don’t have time to waste,” said Chesky, who is co-founder of Airbnb.
“As thousands of Afghan refugees are resettled around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter of their new lives. start over, but also a warm welcome to the house,” he added.
The offer starts immediately and the company says it is working with non-governmental organizations in loco to help with the most urgent needs.
Airbnb explained that it will collaborate with resettlement agencies and NGOs “to go where the demand is” and adapt the initiative and type of support to the need.
“Starting today, Airbnb will accommodate 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world for free,” Chesky wrote on Twitter.
“We’re going to pay for these stays, but we couldn’t do that without the generosity of our ‘hosts’ (the people who rent their properties through the platform),” he said.
The company said that the costs of the stays would be financed through contributions from Airbnb and Chesky, as well as people who donate to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, a fund created by the company for policies to support refugees.
Chesky asked that hosts interested in helping please contact him.
“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises today,” he said.
People who rent their properties on Airbnb have long been encouraged by the platform to donate stays to “people in crisis”.
The scheme began in response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when more than 1,000 people needed emergency accommodation after New York was hit.
Since then, it has helped more than 75,000 people, according to Airbnb.
The company launched the Open Homes (Open Homes) initiative in 2017 to enable its community to hosts offer your property free to people stricken by disaster and fleeing conflict.
Since then, the initiative has offered free stays to people affected by the earthquake in Mexico City, fires in California and Australia, and other disasters.
Later, the company founded its own NGO, Airbnb.org, which focuses on helping people exchange and share accommodation and resources in times of crisis.
Last week, it provided emergency funding to the International Rescue Committee and the Church World Service to guarantee temporary stay for 1,000 Afghan refugees.
And last weekend, it hosted 165 refugees shortly after landing in the US.
“Affordable accommodation is urgently needed and essential,” said David Miliban, chairman of the International Rescue Committee.
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