PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Airbnb is calling on local residents to open their doors — and hearts — as the organization looks to double their commitment to provide housing 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,” stated Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky, in an August release. “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.”
Since Airbnb’s announcement in August, the organization has now doubled that pledge, committing to work with resettlement partners to find housing for 40,000 refugees worldwide.
“If demand lines up with what the U.S. State Department is expecting, we will be able to increase our capacity to provide housing to 40,000 refugees,” Said Liz Fusco, Communications Lead for Airbnb.”So, we’re so grateful for the support of those who have offered to provide a place to stay for free and allowed us to extend the capacity of this program.”
In Portland the demand for refugee housing is increasing. “In Oregon approximately 200 Oregon new and existing hosts have already signed up to open their homes to refugees,” Fusco explained.
The organization is urging local residents to consider joining the effort to host new neighbors.
“Airbnb.org has nearly a decade of experience in providing temporary housing to those displaced by fire, floods, and earthquakes. We provided over 225,000 places to stay for COVID-19 first responders,” Fusco recalled. “So when we heard about this need, we felt we had a responsibility to step up.”
The Biden administration estimated 65,000 Afghan refugees would arrive in the United States by the end of September 2021, with the projected number increasing to 95,000 by September of next year.
“Temporary housing was one of — if not the — most urgent need for refugees as they were leaving Afghanistan,” explained Fusco. “And so, really we’re just asking that people open their doors to refugees and that is the extent of the commitment that we need.”
Hosts with Airbnb are not expected to offer any other resources beyond the basic housing needs, as the organization has partnered with resettlement agencies around the globe, who offer immediate basic needs to incoming refugees and help guide them through the resettlement process.
The initiative is funded by Chesky, Airbnb, and donations to the organization’s $25 million Refugee Fund.
Airbnb.org urges those looking to become an Airbnb host and open their homes to refugees in need to visit airbnb.org/refugees.