HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Dallas hosts open homes to Afghan refugees for free through Airbnb

Dallas hosts open homes to Afghan refugees for free through Airbnb

Afghan family
Dallas Airbnb hosts are opening their homes to Afghan refugees. Courtesy of Airbnb.org

As turmoil and a pained mass exodus continue in Afghanistan amid the U.S. withdrawal, one company is offering up housing for thousands of refugees, including in Dallas.

Airbnb said on August 24 that through Airbnb.org, it will provide free temporary housing to some 20,000 Afghan refugees worldwide. Since that announcement, Airbnb says, it has received “enormous interest” about how people can help refugees, including offering their Airbnb spaces free of charge.

In response to the outpouring of generosity it’s witnessed, Airbnb.org — an independent nonprofit that facilitates temporary stays for people in crisis — has launched a new website, aribnb.org/refugees, that provides info for how Airbnb hosts, including those in Dallas, can best help meet the need for emergency housing for Afghan refugees.

"There is tremendous need for this support from people in the Dallas area," says company spokeswoman Laura Rillos. "Over the past week, Airbnb.org has worked with partners to place nearly 220 Afghan refugees and families in safe housing in the U.S., including right here in Dallas."

Here’s how Dallasites can help:

  • Host a refugee: Existing Airbnb hosts (and anyone with available space to offer) can sign up to provide free or discounted stays to Afghan refugees. Airbnb will waive all its fees on all refugee stays.
  • Donate: Those who cannot open their homes but are interested in supporting housing for Afghan refugees can donate to Airbnb.org.

Airbnb.org will cover the cost of at least 20,000 refugee stays, but hopes to provide housing for even more.

Additionally, Airbnb and Airbnb.org say they are reaching out to the federal government, states, and cities that have shown interest in receiving refugees to provide housing stays as needed.

“As the situation on the ground in Afghanistan continues to evolve, Airbnb.org will continue to work closely with resettlement agencies and partners to go where the need goes, and evolve this initiative and support as necessary,” an Airbnb news release says.

In the past four years, Airbnb.org says it has helped provide temporary stays through its community to approximately 25,000 refugees. Earlier this year, the nonprofit announced the creation of a $25 million refugee fund.

“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” says Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky. “For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm, welcome home.”