Airbnb Offers Free Temporary Housing to 20,000 Afghan Refugees

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, CNBC Television

Airbnb Inc (Nasdaq:  ABNB) announced Tuesday that it plans to temporarily house 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world free of charge.

According to Airbnb’s chief executive officer and co-founder Brian Chesky, the refugees will be housed in properties already listed on the rental platform and volunteered by hosts.

The stays will be funded by the company and contributions made by Chesky, as well as donations made to Airbnb.org’s Refugee Fund.

“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” Chesky said in a statement. “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.”

Following the withdrawal of US forces and the Taliban’s rapid return to political power, a refugee crisis has exploded in Afghanistan.

On Monday, US officials said they had evacuated about 48,000 people from Afghanistan in recent days but that thousands still remain in the country. 

American troops have been stationed at the Kabul airport, the primary point of evacuation, and plan to stay to assist with the effort until Aug. 31, a deadline that the Taliban have warned President Joe Biden is not negotiable.

Biden has previously said that he may consider extending the departure date but has yet to do so. 

“The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the US and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time,” Chesky wrote on Twitter. “We feel a responsibility to step up.” 

“I hope this inspires other business leaders to do the same. There’s no time to waste,” he added.

Chesky did not say how long refugees would be housed or for how long the company would fund their stays.

Over the weekend, Airbnb.org — a non-profit organization that facilitates temporary stays for people facing moments of crisis — placed 165 refugees in safe housing shortly after they arrived in the US, according to the company.

It also gave emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the Jewish American nonprofit HIAS and Church World Service to provide immediate temporary stays through the Airbnb platform for up to 1,000 arriving Afghan refugees.

In a statement, David Miliband, president and chief executive officer of the International Rescue Committee, said, "As the IRC helps to welcome and resettle Afghans in the U.S., accessible housing is urgently needed and essential.”

Within the last four years, Airbnb and Airbnb.org have provided roughly 25,000 refugees with temporary housing. 

The company also unveiled plans in June for a $25 million refugee fund to further expand support of asylum seekers and refugees worldwide.

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Source: Equities News

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