Airbnb is using its extensive network of homes worldwide to aid refugees seeking short-term shelter in new countries.
It’s called the ‘Welcome’ programme, and it sees listings offering themselves up to refugees on the Airbnb platform, free of charge.
Airbnb is working with relief organisations like the International Rescue Committee and SoldiarityNow to promote the programme, giving desperate refugees a lifeline in strange and often unwelcoming countries.
Of course, Welcome only works if hosts open their hearts and homes to the refugees, but the company notes that there have already been several occasions in the past where hosts have reached out to those in need through the platform.
“In the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Airbnb community members volunteered to house people displaced by the storm at no cost,” it says. “The idea inspired the creation of Airbnb’s disaster relief program, which has since provided free temporary housing to people in need during 65 disasters around the globe.”
Building on that, Airbnb has pledged $4-million to the IRC, and launched this new initiative.
“By connecting hosts willing to open their homes with families in need, Airbnb will help us cut the time and expense of moving refugees from harm to home,” says IRC President David Miliband. “Perhaps just as important, this sort of home sharing allows people to make real connections and to build lasting relationships.”
Airbnb has set a goal of housing 100 000 people in need globally this year, with 6 000 hosts having opened their homes to date.
Organisations eager to connect with the programme can go to http://airbnb.com/welcome to discover available free listings.