Where will all those Afghan refugees go?
Vacation rental platform Airbnb announced Tuesday it will work to find places for 20,000 exiles through its worldwide network of short-term rental homes, apartments, and rooms offered by owners and marketed through the company.
The effort will be organized by the company’s nonprofit organization, Airbnb.org, to handle similar humanitarian housing efforts involving political and natural disasters.
“Starting today, Airbnb will begin housing 20,000 Afghan refugees globally for free,” CEO Brian Chesky tweeted Tuesday morning. “While we will be paying for these stays, we could not do this without the generosity of our Hosts. To make this happen, we are working closely with http://Airbnb.org, NGOs, and partners orgs on the ground to support the most pressing needs.”
The United States military now is airlifting more than 10,000 people daily from Afghanistan through the besieged Kabul airport.
“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 tweeted. “I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste.”
In a news release, Airbnb said the company and the non-profit Airbnb.org recognize that the situation on the ground is evolving fast. Airbnb.org would closely collaborate with resettlement agencies and partners to go where the need goes and change the effort and the company’s support as necessary.
In addition, Airbnb urged other businesses to join in providing immediate support to Afghan refugees.
Airbnb.org started its emergency efforts regarding Afghans last week, the release said, providing funding and support to the International Rescue Committee, HIAS, and Church World Services to provide temporary stays via the Airbnb platform for up to 1,000 arriving Afghan refugees.
The statement noted that Airbnb.org worked with other nonprofit partners over the weekend to place 165 refugees in safe housing shortly after they arrived in the United States.