Airbnb announced Tuesday that it plans to temporarily house 20,000 Afghan refugees around the world free of charge.
The refugees will be housed in properties that are already listed on Airbnb’s platform and volunteered by hosts, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said on Twitter.
The cost of the stays will be funded by the company and contributions made by Chesky, who reportedly has a net worth of about $12.3 billion, as well as other donations made to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund.
The company said its collaborating with resettlement agencies and will evolve its support as necessary. It also urged other businesses “to provide immediate support to Afghan refugees.”
“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.”
It’s unclear for how long the temporary housing will be provided.
Over this past weekend, Airbnb.org — which is a nonprofit focused on facilitating temporary stays for people in moments of crisis like natural disasters — managed to place 165 refugees in safe housing shortly after touching down in the US, the company said.
Last week, the nonprofit said it gave emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee, the Jewish American nonprofit HIAS and Church World Service to provide immediate temporary stays via the Airbnb platform for up to 1,000 arriving Afghan refugees.
“As the IRC helps to welcome and resettle Afghans in the US, accessible housing is urgently needed and essential,” IRC CEO David Miliband said in a statement.
Most of the evacuees are Afghans fearful of the Islamic fundamentalist group. Nearly 4,000 Americans also have been rescued, a US official told The Post on Monday.
The primary point of evacuation from Afghanistan is Kabul airport, but the Taliban has set up roadblocks, making it difficult for fleeing residents to make it to the airport.
Those who have made it to the airport face massive crowds that are gathered in immense heat. Children have reportedly been trampled to death amid the crowds.
The US has committed to withdrawing all US forces, even from the airport, by Aug. 31, and the Taliban has warned President Joe Biden that they will hold him accountable to that deadline, stoking concerns that many who want to flee the country will be stuck.
“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.
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