(KFOR NEWS February 22, 2022) Six months ago, Airbnb.org announced that it would help provide free, temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan newcomers in partnership with resettlement agencies and other nonprofit organizations. Today, Airbnb.org is proud to share that it has met that goal. To date, Airbnb.org has provided housing to more than 1,100 Afghan newcomers in Nebraska alone, with Omaha among the top destinations.
“Lincoln is home to a community that understands just how important it is to welcome Afghan newcomers with open arms, providing a soft landing for those who have had to leave behind everything they have ever known. It’s wonderful to see how Airbnb.org’s efforts are providing safe havens to refugees as they arrive here in Lincoln,” said State Senator Adam Morfeld.
“We all have a part to play to welcome newly arriving Afghans. When we support refugees and other new Americans, they thrive and make our communities stronger. I am glad to join Airbnb.org to support refugees in Nebraska, and will continue to support efforts that address the rising housing needs in the Omaha area,” said State Senator Tony Vargas of Omaha.
“When we began efforts to provide housing to Afghan refugees, we asked our community to open up their homes or donate to meet this critical need. Due to the generosity of our Hosts and donors to Airbnb.org, and the dedication of our nonprofit partners helping to drive this important work, we’ve been able to surpass our original goal,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO and co-founder.
Through this effort, Airbnb.org has worked closely with the US government and all nine US resettlement agencies, including longtime partners such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Church World Service (CWS) and HIAS – along with Afghan-led organizations including Women for Afghan Women – as well as the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society and their national network of 34 resettlement agencies in Canada, Refugee Action in the United Kingdom and Amnesty International Ireland.
“Operation Allies Welcome has been a historic whole-of-society effort to resettle our Afghan allies – a majority of whom worked on behalf of the United States, or were family members of those who did – in communities across our country. This Operation is made possible by partnerships across the private sector and local communities,” said Robert Fenton, Operation Allies Welcome Senior Response Official.
“With the crisis in Afghanistan rapidly escalating, the International Rescue Committee is responding to meet the needs of Afghans seeking refuge in new communities across the U.S. and around the world. Airbnb.org is stepping up to help with one of the most urgent needs – providing temporary, accessible housing. Millions of Afghans continue to need our support and we hope that Airbnb’s commitment will inspire others to help,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee.
“The unprecedented national challenge to ensure Afghan newcomers are resettled with dignity and opportunity calls on all of us to help welcome our new neighbors. Airbnb.org led the way from the beginning by committing to provide free housing, and offering Americans an opportunity to contribute to this critical and urgent need. Since then, many private and civic sector leaders have joined the effort to welcome our new neighbors, amplified by the contributions of everyday Americans. Now, as Afghan newcomers begin to rebuild their lives in their new communities, Americans serving as sponsors are paving their way, providing the tools, resources, and warm embrace that will support their success. We look forward to continuing to partner with Airbnb.org to grow the community of welcomers,” said Nazanin Ash, CEO of Welcome.US.
This effort has been funded through contributions to Airbnb.org from Airbnb, CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky, and co-founder and Chairman of Airbnb.org Joe Gebbia, as well as donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund.
In addition, after committing to provide housing to Afghan newcomers, Airbnb.org also received an outpouring of interest from people within the Airbnb community and beyond looking for ways to support Airbnb.org’s initiative. More than 7,100 Hosts on Airbnb have offered free and discounted stays to Afghan refugees. In fact, thanks to these Airbnb Hosts who generously removed or reduced the cost of stays, Airbnb.org was able to house nearly 1,300 additional newcomers, in addition to the housing for 20,000 Afghan refugees that was fully funded by Airbnb.org and its donors.
Airbnb.org’s commitment to supporting newcomers continues
As Airbnb.org marks this important milestone, its work to support refugees and other displaced people around the world will continue. Through Airbnb.org, the Airbnb community will continue to be a crucial resource for newly arriving Afghans as well as other newcomers, including those from Central America – with the goal of providing free, temporary housing to another 20,000 refugees.
Over the past five years, Airbnb and Airbnb.org have connected more than 48,000 newcomers – including US Special Immigrant Visa Program recipients, Venezuelan refugees and Afghan humanitarian parolees – to temporary housing through Airbnb.org partners, and those efforts will continue through 2022 and beyond. As a part of its commitment to provide housing to another 20,000 refugees, Airbnb.org plans to invest in the ability to more deeply understand and track the impact of this program on people’s lives, in line with its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion commitments.
Recognizing that successful integration will require deep and sustained community-based infrastructure, Airbnb will continue to seek ways to engage Airbnb Hosts and its broader community in welcoming Afghan refugees and other newcomers — from donating or hosting with Airbnb.org to volunteering with local resettlement agencies or becoming a Sponsor. There are a myriad of ways for the Airbnb community to support newcomers, and Airbnb.org will continue to share those opportunities in the coming months and years ahead.
Ensuring newly-arrived refugees thrive in their new communities depends on cooperation with governments, community leaders, and resettlement agencies, to find long-term sustainable solutions. Airbnb.org will also continue to invest in its partners, to help bridge the critical gap in housing needs for newcomers. Last year, Airbnb.org announced the creation of its Refugee Fund and has galvanized more than 4,000 donors to further support its work with refugees and asylum seekers worldwide. Airbnb.org will also continue to support the Community Sponsorship Hub, to provide Sponsor Circles working to directly support Afghan newcomers in the United States with access to temporary housing through Airbnb.org.
As the crisis in Afghanistan escalated, Airbnb called on the entire global business community to join efforts to support Afghan newcomers – and continues to do so today, as private sector engagement remains an urgent, vital need. Airbnb will continue to support Welcome.US – a national effort to welcome Afghan newcomers to their new homes – with Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia serving on its Welcome Council.
For anyone looking to become an Airbnb.org Host or donor, go to airbnb.org/refugees today and learn how to get started.