Airbnb has announced they will be temporarily housing 20,000 Afghan refugees free of charge. Thanks to donations from Airbnb.org the company is able to host refugees in many places around the world. Airbnb often offers housing in emergencies.According to Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, refugees will be allowed to stay in the host homes free of charge. Chesky has asked hosts to reach out to him and Airbnb if they want to host a refugee family. “As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives. For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home,” he said. The company plans to pay the hosts for the time used themselves. This coming after the Taliban took over Afghanistan. The takeover has left many people attempting to leave the country in fear of the Taliban. The Taliban is known for being Islamic purist/extremist who violently enforce literal interpretations of the Quran. Under their rule many people died and felt unsafe in their own homes.
The U.S. has evacuated over 48,000 people from Afghanistan. The refugees have been gathering at Kabul airport searching for a way out of the country. The Taliban gave everyone until August 31 to use airspace. Many people who are attempting to flee the persecution of the Taliban the country won’t be able to. Airbnb CEO said, “The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time. We feel a responsibility to step up.” Chesky later added “I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste.” Chesky’s call to action did not fall on deaf ears, all kinds of companies have taken advantage of the chance to show they can be helpful during a time of need. Texas Medical Technology plans to hire 100 Afghan refugees at their Houston manufacturing facility. During this time we not only see businesses answering the call to help but people all over the world are opening their homes during this difficult time.
According to Airbnb, over 75,000 people have been given a safe place during a crisis since 2012. That would not be possible without property owners who host Airbnb locations. Airbnb began asking property owners who host on their platform for help after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. The company launched the official Open Homes initiative in 2017. The initiative has since offered free accommodations to people affected by the Mexico City earthquake, Californian wildfires, Australian bushfires and other disasters. Airbnb also helps other organizations who support people during crises. Airbnb gave emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee, the Jewish American nonprofit HIAS, and Church World Service to provide safe places for up to 1,000 arriving Afghan refugees. “As the IRC helps to welcome and resettle Afghans in the US, accessible housing is urgently needed and essential,” IRC CEO David Miliband said in a statement. Airbnb will continue to be a shining example of how big brands and companies can help people who are in crisis find just a small piece of stability. People lose hope during crises, giving them places to stay restores that hope. If more companies would be like Airbnb, maybe the world would have a little more hope.
Written by: Erinn Malloy