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Airbnb opens host homes for Afghan refugees globally

The company will be paying the hosts for accommodating the refugees in the properties listed on Airbnb’s platform.

Airbnb and its charitable arm, Airbnb.org, will be partnering with resettlement agencies to temporarily house 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free. Refugees will be housed in the properties listed on Airbnb’s platform. The company will be paying the hosts for accommodating the refugees.

The cost will also be borne through the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, which was launched in June to support refugees and asylum seekers, with the goal of raising $25 million.

Airbnb is urging the hosts to join the cause by offering short-term stays for free, or at a discounted rate, and also asking people to donate money.

While the platform did not make it clear as to how long the refugees can stay, it has mentioned that when the emergency stay is over, its nonprofit partners will assist it to have the next steps in place.

In a tweet on August 24, the leading online accommodation platform’s CEO Brian Chesky expressed his gratitude to the hosts for opening their homes to the refugees.

Terming their displacement and resettlement as ‘one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time’, he said the company felt a responsibility to step up, and expressed hope that this action will inspire other business leaders to do the same.

It was in response to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy in New York City that Airbnb began providing this service to those in need. Over 1,000 hosts opened their homes to shelter evacuees. Last year, during the COVID pandemic, the company helped provide housing for healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines.

Following Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan on August 15, other businesses in the US have also extended a helping hand to those fleeing Afghanistan, and are now faced with the challenge of building a new life in a new country. Verizon, Walmart and Texas Medical Technology have offered to help more than a lakh people, who have fled to the US. While Texas Medical Technology said it will provide jobs, Verizon has promised them free calls to Afghanistan to connect with their friends and family, till September 6.