Home rental platform Airbnb said Monday it will provide free temporary housing for as many as 100,000 Ukrainian refugees fleeing the country during the Russian invasion.
More than 500,000 refugees have fled Ukraine in recent days as Russian troops poured over the border and encircled the capital city of Kyiv, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. Russian military operations and intense shelling have resulted in reports of civilian casualties.
Airbnb.org, a company-affiliated nonprofit set up to provide housing relief during international crises, will work with resettlement agencies and other groups to assist the refugees. The effort will be funded through contributions from the company as well as independent donors “and the generosity of Hosts through Airbnb.org.”
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and other top company officials have offered assistance to the leaders of Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania – where many of the refugees have fled – in their efforts to provide housing, according to the company.
“While Airbnb.org is committing to facilitate short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, it will work closely with governments to best support the specific needs in each country, including by providing longer-term stays,” the company said in a blog post.
Chesky elaborated on the effort in a series of tweets, noting the “greatest need we have is for more people who can offer their homes in nearby countries, including Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania.”
Airbnb said its nonprofit wing has provided housing to 54,000 refugees over the last five years, including individuals who fled conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela.
Many of the Ukrainian refugees have traveled to neighboring countries, such as Poland, Hungary and Moldova, according to Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“The governments and people of those countries are welcoming refugees. It is now urgent to share this responsibility in concrete ways,” Grandi wrote on Twitter.
The Biden administration and international allies have responded to Russia’s invasion with crippling economic sanctions, including the ejection of some Russian banks from the SWIFT international payments system.