On Tuesday (24 August) Airbnb announced that they would be providing accommodation to around 20,000 Afghan refugeesall around the world. Through the company and their nonprofit, Airbnb.org, they will match refugees with hosts who will be offering their homes up for free, or at a discounted price. Airbnb hosts will be able to present both short and long-term stays to refugees and the cost will be covered by the company, CEO Brian Chesky, and the contributions given to Airbnb.org.
Afghan refugees fleeing the country
Meanwhile Airbnb is working with resettlement agencies that are in contact with Afghans who are looking for a place to stay. So far, thousands of Afghans have fled the country and the capital, Kabul, after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
According to White House officials, the United States has already evacuated, or facilitated the evacuation of 37,000 people since 14 August—the day before the Taliban entered Kabul. However, the number of Afghan nationals was not specified. Thousands more are at Kabul airport still trying to flee the country.
On 16 August, the Pentagon said that the US would accept between 20,000 to 22,000 Afghans and The Independent reported that that number could increase in the future.
Airbnb resettlement fund
CEO Brian Chesky has said that the company, along with donors of Airbnb.org Refugee Fund have already allocated funds that will be used specifically for the resettlement project. Last week, money went to several resettlement agencies, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), to resettle 1,000 Afghan refugees—of which 165 arrived in the US.
So far, refugees have been accommodated in properties across the country, including Sacramento, Northern Virginia, Cleveland, Dallas, Washington, D.C, and New Jersey. An Airbnb spokesperson told Insider:
Over the past week, it has become abundantly clear that the displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees here in the US and elsewhere is a significant humanitarian crisis
In the face of this need, our community is ready to step up once again.
Airbnb.org will work closely with resettlement boards and partners to go where the need is, and evolve this initiative and our support as necessary.
This is not the first initiative that Airbnb has taken to house refugees. They’ve also given accommodation to people displaced by hurricanes, forest fires, along with a shooting. More recently, the company has been providing housing and tools to frontline health workers during the COVID pandemic.