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Airbnb will house 20,000 Afghan refugees in its properties

The online platform is working with NGOs to offer free places to stay

Written by
Sophie Dickinson
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It’s been hard to think of anything else over the last few weeks. We’ve all watched the terrible scenes unfolding at Kabul airport as thousands attempt to escape the country before the Taliban’s end-of-month deadline.   

Now, with pressure mounting on governments to welcome as many Afghan refugees as they can, Airbnb has pledged to house 20,000 in its homes. That’s the same number the UK government has promised to take in.

Brian Chesky, CEO of the rental accommodation platform, said the move was a response to ‘one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time’.

The offer starts immediately, and refugees don’t have to pay to stay in the homes. The company hasn’t specified exactly how long the scheme will run for, with a spokesperson saying it will work alongside non-governmental organisations for as long as necessary. The stays will be funded by the website, plus through donations to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund.

It isn’t the first time the firm has provided emergency housing. After Hurricane Sandy hit the Caribbean and the east coast of the US in 2012, hosts were encouraged to offer spaces for people displaced by the storm. In 2017 people fleeing wildfires in California were offered shelter via a similar initiative.

Other companies offering help during the crisis include American supermarket chain Walmart and network provider Verizon, which have both pledged financial support.

Here’s to many more big organisations doing their bit to help out.

Plus: Afghan BBQ dons Cue Point are changing things for refugees in London’s kitchens.

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