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Here’s how you can use Airbnb to help Ukrainian refugees


The vacation game was changed forever in the mid-2010s when the online vacation rental website Airbnb became widely popular. It became an easy and effective way for people to rent out their homes to vacationers and provide a unique experience that hotels in the same area often couldn’t offer.

But as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine intensifies and millions of people flee from the country, Airbnb has taken on a new role. The American-owned online marketplace for worldwide vacation rentals has turned its attention to Ukrainian refugees and is offering people the chance to house and fund refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Airbnb’s non-profit organization, Airbnb.org, plans to house 100,000 refugees around the world with the help of Airbnb hosts.

For U.S. citizens, that primarily means donating through the Airbnb Refugee Fund. The fund allows anyone to donate as much money as they want and Airbnb.org will match all donations, up to $10 million total, through March 31.

As of March 11, Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky said on Twitter that over 434,000 total nights had been booked by Ukrainian refugees, totaling $15 million that will go to hosts.

But for individuals who own property in Europe, Chesky said they can help even further.

“Airbnb and Airbnb.org are working with our hosts to house up to 100,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine, for free,” Chesky said via Twitter in late February.

“We need help to meet this goal,” Chesky said in a follow-up tweet. “The greatest need we have is for more people who can offer their homes in nearby countries, including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania.”

Airbnb recently announced that it had housed over 20,000 Afghan refugees which were fully funded through Airbnb hosts and Airbnb.org, and plan to continue housing people in the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South America.

Anyone with available housing in neighboring countries to Ukraine, such as the ones Chesky listed, can list their location on Airbnb as available for refugees. The housing will be free or at a discounted rate to refugees, with the stay either being funded directly by Airbnb.org, through donors to the Airbnb Refugee Fund, or simply through the generosity of hosts.

What steps are taken to host a refugee?

For those capable of hosting a refugee in Europe, Airbnb asks that a few basic amenities be provided for booked guests: Toilet paper, soap, linens and sheets, and at least one towel and pillow per booked guest. Stays can range from just a couple of days up to several weeks, according to Airbnb.

Once a location is listed the owner will receive a request either directly from a potential guest or from a nonprofit partner of Airbnb.org looking to house their clients. The partners that Airbnb.org partners with are vetted by Airbnb and any potential guest has to provide their full name, date of birth, photo and payment information.

Airbnb will also provide hosts with up to $1 million in property damage protection as well as free host protection insurance that covers liability for personal injury on the premises of the location.

Shaun Goodwin is a service journalism reporter at the Idaho Statesman. If you like stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a subscription to our newspaper.
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