Vacation rental company Airbnb said that it would begin offering free accommodation around the world to Afghan refugees.
In a statement released by the company on their website, they said that they would provide “temporary housing to 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide.”
The company also announced that the cost of this housing would be funded through contributions to Airbnb.org from Airbnb and Airbnb’s co-founder Brian Chesky, as well as donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund.
They added that there was a “tremendous need” for the initiative because of the “fast-evolving” crisis in Afghanistan.
In a series of tweets, the company’s co-founder said, “The displacement and resettlement of Afghan refugees in the U.S. and elsewhere is one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our time”.
“We feel a responsibility to step up,” he said. He also added that he hopes other businesses do the same.
Chesky said it was the community’s hosts offering up their residences that made the idea truly possible and asked people to sign up to accommodate a refugee family if they wanted to help those fleeing Taliban rule.
“There’s no time to waste,” he said.
The announcement comes as companies and countries around the world face growing pressure to help those frantically trying to escape the country.
The announcement builds on efforts that have already begun in support of Afghan refugees at Airbnb and Airbnb.org. Last week, Airbnb.org gave emergency funding and support to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), HIAS and Church World Service to provide immediate temporary stays via the Airbnb platform for up to 1,000 arriving Afghan refugees.
Over this past weekend, Airbnb.org worked with partners to place 165 refugees in safe housing shortly after touching down in the US.
According to the company, 75,000 vulnerable people have found safe accommodation amid times of crisis over the last nine years.
There are almost 2.5 million registered Afghan refugees, who have been forced to flee their homes, according to the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR. Many officials, however, say that the true toll is likely to be significantly higher.