A spokesperson for Airbnb said they’ve received more than $1 million in donations for refugees.
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — People across the DMV are donating to Ukrainian refugees by booking their Airbnbs, hoping to send help directly to those who need it.
“I’ve just been unable to look away… and feeling so powerless,” University of Maryland professor Jen Golbeck said. “So I was like, I have to do something.”
Golbeck captures the sentiment of so many others, who turned to Airbnb to help by booking rooms from Ukrainian hosts.
“I picked one and just booked it for a week,” Golbeck said. “I messaged the property owner and told her, ‘You know, I’m not coming, this is just for you, to help you out…’ But it made me cry that you could tell that it was just such a hard time. And you know, that this influx of $300 from the US… was really going to make a difference for them.”
Airbnb said to make sure the money is going to the right place, read the reviews on the listing.
Airbnb has also taken its own steps as a company to help refugees, temporarily waiving guest and host fees on Ukraine bookings and setting up a Help Ukraine page to provide free housing to refugees.
A spokesperson said more than 1 million people have visited the page since it was created last week.
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As of Monday, they said nearly 30,000 hosts had signed up to offer their homes to refugees, more than 10,000 of whom hail from the US
The company is partnering with the Organization for Migration, the UN’s migration agency, to connect Ukrainian refugees to free, short-term housing in Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
“It has been really hard and…we just want to…. get there and help them and do whatever we can,” Golbeck said. “We have to be a little more creative to do it when they’re that far away.”
The Airbnb spokesperson said the company has also received more than $1.2 million in donations in just 48 hours over the weekend.
The company sent WUSA 9 the following statement:
“We are so humbled by the inspiring generosity of our community during this moment of crisis. Airbnb is temporarily waiving guest and host fees on bookings in Ukraine at this time. We also encourage anyone interested in getting involved with http://Airbnb.org to go to http://airbnb.org/help-ukraine, and support http://Airbnb.org’s initiative to provide housing to refugees fleeing Ukraine, by becoming a host or donating. To date, we have seen an overwhelming response to this effort, with more than a million visitors to this page.”
Some people are also using Etsy to send Ukrainian creators money—mostly through digital art files, which they can sell while they’re on the move.
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