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Airbnb Pilots New Platform to Provide Housing for Refugees and Evacuees, Partners with International Rescue Committee

Airbnb, the world’s leading hospitality company, today piloted  airbnb.com/welcome, a new platform that will make it easier for people to open their homes to refugees and displaced people. Anyone who wants to share their space with a refugee for free can volunteer to open their home by visiting airbnb.com/welcome/refugees.  The price of participating homes will be set at zero dollars and Airbnb will collect no fees on these bookings.

Launched today, the new platform connects Airbnb hosts who have offered to temporarily house displaced people at no cost with relief organizations and nonprofits that serve refugees, evacuees and other people in need. Qualifying organizations can use airbnb.com/welcome to search and book free Airbnb listings for refugees and other displaced people in need.

“It’s easy to feel powerless when you think about massive global challenges such as the refugee crisis, but there are things everyone can do that make a big difference. The simple act of opening your home for a few nights can be life-changing for people who who’ve had to leave everything behind.”

Joe Gebbia, Airbnb CPO & co-founder

Earlier this year, Airbnb set a goal of providing short term housing over the next five years for 100,000 people in need around the world. The new platform will help achieve this goal by making it easy for relief organizations to book listings with hosts around the world who have offered to share their space with refugees at no cost. To date, 6,000 people have offered to open their home to refugees at no cost.

“In the past, it was really difficult for people to open up their home to someone in need,” added Gebbia. “Now leveraging Airbnb’s core competency is easy for anyone who has a spare room or apartment and wants to connect with relief organizations and play a small role in tackling this global challenge.”

“Refugees are fleeing war, persecution or political upheaval. They are resettling because they have been forced out of their homes. Most refugees arrive with nothing and must start over — they need work, money, education and, straight away, they need housing. 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. Perhaps just as important, this sort of home sharing allows people to make real connections and to build lasting relationships.”

David Miliband, International Rescue Committee (IRC) president and CEO

The IRC provides support for refugees in 40 countries and resettles refugees in 28 U.S. cities. More than half of the refugees arriving in the U.S. are aged 14 or under.

Other organizations with access to the tool include:

  • SINGA Quebec

  • Inland Refugee Society of British Columbia

  • Kinbrace

  • Singa France

  • Refugiés Bienvenue

  • Elan Samusocial

  • SolidarityNow

Airbnb will work to expand the number of partners with access to airbnb.com/welcome in the months and years ahead.

Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong anywhere and has worked to support refugees and displaced people for several years:

  • In the wake of Superstorm Sandy in 2012, Airbnb community members volunteered to house people displaced by the storm at no cost. 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.

  • To date, Airbnb has provided over 5,000 nights of free housing to relief workers working at refugee camps in Kos, Lesvos, Ionniana, Athens, and the Balkans.

  • Last year, we matched up to $1 million in contributions from our community to UNHCR to support their work with refugees.

  • Since November 2016, over 550 Airbnb hosts and resettled refugee families shared holiday meals to find common ground and to learn more about each other. Over the course of 2017 we will be expanding this initiative to Canada and Europe, enabling our community to offer warm meals and create new bonds with future citizens.

  • When policies that prohibited some people from entering the United States were enacted earlier this year, thousands of members of the Airbnb community volunteered to open their homes to displaced travelers.

  • Earlier this year, Airbnb pledged to contribute $4 million over the course of four years to the International Rescue Committee to support the most critical needs of displaced populations globally.

Questions, comments, or other inquiries can be directed to press@airbnb.com.