Short-term property rental platform Airbnb has announced that it will be helping to find housing for some 35,000 asylum seekers trapped in Greece. Property owners can offer to host refugees from one night to up to three months.
Over the weekend, Airbnb unveiled an ambitious new platform in order to make it easy for regular people to host those in need of accommodation.
The platform called Open Homes lets anyone sign up to host a person in need—offering all or part of their residence.
Under the slogan “Open your heart and home to refugees”, Airbnb calls on people to provide temporarily shelter to those in need.
A select group of nonprofits and relief worker agencies can then use it to search for temporary housing for those they are helping.
The organizations are responsible for identifying and vetting the displaced, searching for and selecting the best housing options depending on preferences and needs, and making the bookings.
The platform operates much like a regular Airbnb booking—only the price is set at zero, only agencies can do the bookings, and Airbnb does not collect any booking fees.
The company has donated people-hours and expertise in building out the platform itself and has also made cash donations to the International Rescue Committee and to UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency—but it’s the hosts that will make the biggest social impact.
According to Fortune, currently, there are 6,000 zero-dollar listings on the platform, located all around the world, but primarily in the U.S. and Europe. The site identifies four areas of need: refugees; disaster; medical needs; and homeless. There isn’t a limit on the number of nights a host can house a refugee, but the idea is “nights to weeks.”
The tool has drawn heavy interest from people who are not existing Airbnb hosts but simply want to donate their space for the cause. Of the company’s 6,000 listings currently offered, half are not existing Airbnb hosts. “This is a brand new way for people to contribute and give back in a way that’s actually needed the most,” says Joe Gebbia, Airbnb’s cofounder and chief product officer who has spent much of his time in the past few years leading the initiative.
The company has been using its platform in this way in some form since 2012 when Superstorm Sandy hit New York City.
Airbnb Europe-wide campaign aims to provide housing for 100,000 people in need over five years. The platform
The initiative is run with the help of the nongovernmental organizations.
“Airbnb has partnered with trusted agencies like the International Rescue Committee (IRC),” Airbnb saus on the new platform.
Citing an company representative, Kathimerini notes that the aim of Airbnb for Greece is 35,000 refugees.
There are currently more than 62,000 refugees and migrants in Greece.
PS KTG understands that Airbnb launches such actions also for emergency situations. Just thinking of the homeless on Lesvos due to the 6.3R earthquake on Monday.