The scheme set up by Airbnb is providing a direct route of aid from people all over the world to families on the ground.
People have found a creative way to help individual Ukrainian families by booking their Airbnbs. No one is planning on checking in, it’s purely a direct way to get money straight to Ukrainian families in need.
At the beginning of this month, Airbnb waived all host and guest fees in Ukraine and more than 434,000 nights were booked by people all over the world, with $15 million raised, according to Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky.
One Kyiv apartment host wrote in response to the bookings: “You have no idea how valuable it is now. We are all stopped. I’m with two children three and six years old hiding in the Kyiv region. We have a cellar with me, another family with a girl of six years old, and an old woman.”
Another host wrote: “Thank you so much for this. Our life and home has been ripped right from us. Now we are refugees and I don’t know when this nightmare will end. It’s actions like yours that help me have faith in humanity.”
The company Airbnb have also announced a goal to provide 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine with free temporary housing, a scheme supported by Barack Obama on Twitter.
At the time of writing, around 30,000 hosts have signed up to Airbnb.org, the non-profit arm of the website, to provide refugees with free housing. The philanthropic site was set up in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 but has since been used for Syrian refugees, people fleeing natural disasters, and around 20,000 Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban.
Those making Airbnb bookings in Ukraine are urged to check who the host is before booking, as some properties are owned by larger property managers that are part of large hotel companies. It has also been encouraged to book smaller apartments or rooms for rent in cities that have been hit harder by bombing. More information can be found here.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis and her husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, pledged $3 million in donations to help families in Ukraine and said the money will go to Airbnb.org’s refugee housing initiative and Flexport.org, which is organising supply shipments to refugee sites.