(BPT) - Over 65,000 Afghan refugees are expected to resettle in the United States over the next few weeks and months - and that is only the first wave of arrivals. In many cases, those who have fled Afghanistan had to leave everything they owned behind - and are essentially starting their lives again here in the U.S.
In August, Airbnb.org - the independent non-profit that leverages the Airbnb Host community to help people in times of crises - announced it would provide free, temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees. As of October 2021, Airbnb.org has helped place more than 2,000 Afghan refugees into temporary housing and more than 6,000 Hosts on Airbnb have signed up to provide free and discounted stays to welcome Afghans into their communities.
Anyone can help
You don't have to be an Airbnb host to offer temporary housing to Afghan refugees. Airbnb.org and Airbnb have been providing temporary housing to people displaced for nearly ten years, and they've now made it simple for anyone who wants to help welcome Afghan refugees to get involved.
The inspiration for Airbnb.org began in 2012, when a New York City-based Airbnb Host named Shell contacted Airbnb and asked how she could open up her home to her neighbors who were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This sparked the beginning of a now decade-long effort to allow Hosts on Airbnb to provide stays for people in times of need. Since then, the program has evolved to focus on emergency response and helps provide stays for disaster survivors, relief workers, refugees, asylum seekers and most recently, frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Now, whether you have a home or an apartment - even if you aren't an Airbnb Host - you can sign up to host temporary stays for Afghan refugees through Airbnb.org. If you are an Airbnb Host, you can opt into the program and make listings available for free or at a discounted rate. If you're new to Airbnb and only want to host for this cause, you can create a free listing available only to refugee guests.
Choose how long you can offer a home
You can pick any length of time that you want to make your space available. The average stay is 14 days. If you are opening your home to Afghan refugees, your home can only be booked on the Airbnb platform by recognized resettlement agencies working with those refugees. Airbnb.org is currently working with all nine US resettlement agencies and Afghan-led community groups including Church World Service, the International Rescue Committee, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services and Women for Afghan Women. Booking requests come from a case manager, not refugee guests, and a case manager from one of these organizations may reach out with questions.
Airbnb.org Hosts are supported
Airbnb.org works in partnership with nonprofits, who employ case managers who are responsible for the well-being of their refugee clients before, during and after their temporary stay through Airbnb.org. The case manager books the stay on behalf of guests and is responsible for providing for needs like food, transportation and access to medical services. As a Host, you will be able to communicate with the nonprofit throughout the stay to ensure you are offering a welcoming stay for your guests.
In addition, Airbnb provides all Airbnb.org Hosts with dedicated community support, along with a million-dollar Host Guarantee to provide protection for covered damage in the unlikely event that anything occurs.
The need for housing is urgent
Airbnb.org and its trusted partners are helping to resettle individuals and families who are in dire need of temporary homes.
'When I realized that there was something concrete I could do for a family with an urgent need, I didn't hesitate - and I cannot begin to tell you how humbling and rewarding that experience has been,' said Susan Bailey, Airbnb.org Host and member of the Airbnb Host Advisory Board. 'When you host a refugee family with Airbnb.org, you aren't just offering them a safe, temporary place to live - you are actually helping them begin the first chapter in their new lives, and welcoming them to a community.'