Airbnb, the online accommodation platform, said it will temporarily house 20,000 Afghan refugees, as part of helping to resettle them around the world.
The company’s CEO, Brian Chesky, said the move was in response to “one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time”.
Chesky said the company felt it had to take action.
“I hope this will inspire other business leaders to do the same. There is no time to waste,” he added.
“With tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettled around the world, their new places of residence will be the first chapter in their new lives. For these 20,000 refugees, I hope Airbnb will provide them with a safe place to rest, a fresh start, and a welcome,” he added. Warm in the (new) homeland.”
The offer is effective immediately, and the company has said it is working with NGOs “on the ground” to help meet the most urgent needs.
Airbnb did not specify the budget planned to be spent on the initiative or how long the refugees would be housed.
But it said it would work with resettlement agencies and partners “to be present where there is a need”, and would develop and support the initiative as necessary.
“Starting today, Airbnb will begin accommodating 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free,” CEO Chesky wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
“While we will pay for these accommodations, this would not be possible without the kind help of our hosts (accommodation owners),” he added.
The company said the cost of the stays will be funded by contributions from Airbnb and Mr. Chesky, as well as donors to the Airbnb Refugee Fund.
“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the United States and elsewhere is one of the greatest humanitarian crises of our time,” Chexe said.
The company said it will release more details soon about how people can help.
She said, “We know that our co-hosts around the world are excited to stand by us and support this tremendous effort. In the coming days we plan to share details on how the hosts and the larger community can do this. Support this initiative.”
people in crisis
Airbnb’s property owners have long been encouraged to donate to host “people in crisis” in their homes.
The free shelter assistance program began in response to Hurricane Sandy in 2012, when more than 1,000 people needed emergency housing in New York City.
The company says it has helped more than 75,000 people since 2012.
In 2017, the company launched an “open homes” initiative in which the host community welcomes people affected by disasters or fleeing conflict zones free of charge.
Since then, the initiative has provided free accommodation to people affected by the Mexico City earthquake, California wildfires, Australian bushfires, and other disasters.
The initiative also led the company to establish an independent charitable unit, to focus on helping people share housing and resources with each other in times of crisis.
Last week, the company provided emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee and Church World Service to provide temporary accommodation for up to 1,000 Afghan refugees who have arrived in the United States.
It also placed 165 refugees in safe housing shortly after their arrival in the United States, over the past weekend.
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