Airbnb announced on Thursday it will allow anyone with available space to sign up to provide housing for Afghan refugees. The new initiative aims to build upon Airbnb’s initial commitment to provide free temporary housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees.
The company says existing Airbnb hosts and anyone else can sign up to provide free or discounted stays to Afghan refugees through its dedicated website for emergency housing. Airbnb notes it waives its fees on all refugee stays. For those who are unable to open up their homes but are still eager to help, Airbnb says they can aid the crisis by donating money to support housing for Afghan refugees.
On Tuesday, Airbnb announced its initial commitment to house 20,000 Afghan refugees and said the company will cover the costs for the housing, using funds from contributions to its nonprofit Airbnb.org and a specific Refugee Fund established by that division, as well as personal contributions from Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky himself.
“Since the announcement, we have received enormous interest from people within the Airbnb community and beyond looking for ways to support Airbnb and Airbnb.org’s work with partner organizations to house Afghan refugees. In many cases, we have heard from people who want to offer their space free of charge,” the company said in a statement. “The response has been overwhelming and today we’re sharing more details on how people can help us expand on efforts to meet this unprecedented need for temporary, emergency stays for refugees arriving from Afghanistan.”
Airbnb.org and Airbnb are also extending support to the federal government, along with states and cities that have expressed interest in receiving refugees to help provide stays as needed.
The company's housing initiatives come at a time when tens of thousands of people are attempting to flee Afghanistan. Amid the crisis, companies and governments are facing increasing pressure to aid refugees fleeing the country. There are currently nearly 2.5 million registered refugees from Afghanistan, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.