In August, Airbnb.org announced it would help provide free, temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide in partnership with resettlement agencies and other nonprofit organizations. Since then, more than 6,700 Hosts on Airbnb have offered free and discounted stays to help Airbnb.org go above and beyond its initial commitment, and over 5,500 Afghan refugees have found temporary stays with Hosts on Airbnb.
Airbnb.org continues to work with resettlement partners, Afghan-led organizations, and local officials across the US and other countries to connect Afghan evacuees to temporary homes in the communities where they will resettle, and to call attention to long-term needs of these families. Airbnb.org is grateful for the leadership of local leaders, including Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, who joined resettlement partners and other community organizations to highlight the work being done to support Afghan evacuees who are resettling in communities and their ongoing needs.
How the Airbnb employee community is supporting Afghan refugees
We’ve also been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from our broader community, including Airbnb employees, who have reached out to ask what more they can do to help Afghan refugees.
In 2017, Airbnb worked with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to help find jobs for Afghans affiliated with U.S. missions who were also holders of special immigrant visas (SIV). Airbnb vendor Allied Universal hired four Afghan SIV holders to work at our San Francisco headquarters.
When Airbnb employees learned the family of one such SIV holder had evacuated from Afghanistan and would need help relocating in the US, they launched a company-wide effort to offer support, including donations of furniture, and other household goods to welcome the family.
“As a British Army veteran and someone who has worked in Afghanistan for non-profits and on USAID contracts, I care deeply about our role in Afghanistan over the last 20 years. I feel we owe our Afghan brothers and sisters for their sacrifices, and I am proud that I can use my role at Airbnb to help offer some much needed support to Afghan newcomers.”
Andy Bassett, Airbnb’s Global Security Manager who has played a crucial role in the employee-led support for Afghan refugees
This work expanded to help other families being helped by Airbnb.org partners. One of our vendors, Lodging Kit, provided kitchen equipment, bedding, towels and other apartment necessities. In addition, Airbnb employees rented a U-haul to collect and deliver furniture donations.
“My family has been going through an extremely difficult time during the current and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. It has been very difficult for them to leave their home behind and begin a new chapter in these uncertain times,” shared Sameer, who was one of the first Afghan SIVs hired by Allied Universal and whose family recently relocated to the US. “We have all been and continue to be humbled by your donations and gifts, as well as the time you spent to help during our time of need. At this time, we have fully moved in and all the furniture and donations have turned our house into a new home. We have all been blown away by everyone’s efforts and they wanted to ensure that I thanked you all personally on their behalf.”
Anyone interested in becoming an Airbnb.org Host or donating to support this initiative can go to airbnb.org/refugees to learn more.