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Airbnb Launches Platform Connecting Hosts to Refugees And The Displaced

AFP Relaxnews

Updated: June 14, 2017, 9:44 AM IST
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Airbnb Launches Platform Connecting Hosts to Refugees And The Displaced
Airbnb Welcome (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Airbnb)
Airbnb has officially launched a new platform that will allow people to open their homes to refugees and displaced people for free.

After outlining a plan to provide short-term housing for 100,000 people over the next five years in February, Airbnb has launched airbnb.com/welcome, which connects relief organization and non-profits with hosts who are willing to open their homes to refugees, evacuees and other people in need.

Immediately following US President Donald Trump's travel ban in January, the vacation rental site launched an emergency program offering free housing to stranded travelers affected by the ban.

The first iteration of Trump's executive order barred travelers from seven countries from entering the US for three months. Most were Muslim-majority countries.

"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," said Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia in a statement.

"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."

To date, 6,000 people have signed on to open their homes to refugees at no cost.

For the program, the site has teamed up with organizations like the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which helps resettle refugees in 28 cities in the US, along with SINGA Quebec, SINGA France, Inland Refugee Society of British Columbia, SolidarityNow, Kinbrace, Refugies Bienvenue and Elan Samusocial.

"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," said IRC president David Miliband.

"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."
First Published: June 14, 2017, 9:44 AM IST
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