Airbnb announced earlier this week that it's offering free, temporary housing to 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan. Now, it says anyone with available space who's willing to house refugees can sign up to do so — not only Airbnb hosts.
The company is funding the stays through Airbnb.org, its nonprofit that aims to provide people with a place to stay during times of crisis. The company and its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky have donated to the efforts. Donations to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund will also help fund the program, and perhaps help cover the cost of more stays. Airbnb is waiving its fees on all refugee stays too.
Airbnb.org is working with partners including the International Rescue Committee, HIAS and Church World Service to help refugees find a place to stay. The nonprofit and Airbnb are also offering support to the federal government, as well as cities and states that have expressed openness to welcoming refugees.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there are currently around 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees, as TechCrunch notes. Given the number of people who have attempted to flee Afghanistan since the Taliban swept the country and assumed power, there may be many more refugees who need support. Providing at least 20,000 refugees with temporary housing is a positive step to help them transition into their new lives, but Airbnb's efforts, while welcome, may prove a drop in the ocean when it comes to this humanitarian crisis.