Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Denver, CO
Host Advisory Board Member
1,788 Views

image (18).png

Hello everyone! 

 

It’s wonderful to see our community respond so swiftly to the news that Airbnb.org is providing temporary housing for 20,000 people displaced by the crisis in Afghanistan. I am heartened that so many Hosts are eager to help, because with additional resources provided by all of us, the nonprofits working to resettle folks in need can do even more good work.

 

Of course, many of you have questions about the call for Hosts to offer spaces for free or at a discount—and how to opt into that program. Others have asked what it’s like to host refugee guests and how to support the cause in other ways.

 

Here’s what I can tell you. I’ve hosted 7 different refugee families from 5 countries since 2016, back when Airbnb.org was called Open Homes. The case managers from the nonprofits handling resettlement take care of booking, answer my questions, and give clear parameters for communicating with guests and making sure they feel welcome. Each experience has been unique and positive, which is why I continue to participate in and embrace the program.

 

It’s easy to get started. Anyone with private space available can sign up to offer free or discounted stays at Airbnb.org. If you aren’t able to host, you can support the cause by donating money to Airbnb.org, where 100% of your contribution goes to connecting people with temporary housing. Or you can opt to become a recurring donor by setting up your Airbnb listings to give a portion of your payouts—whatever percentage you choose—to Airbnb.org.

 

You’ll get an Airbnb.org Supporter badge on your Host profile for maintaining an Airbnb.org listing or being a recurring donor—and hosting refugee stays will not affect your Superhost status.

 

You can get a lot more details in this Resource Center article.

 

Are you preparing to support Afghan refugees or other people in need of temporary housing in your community? If so, please share how!

 

Susan Bailey is an Airbnb.org Host who has shared her home with refugees. She is also a member of the Airbnb Host Advisory Board.

Labels (1)
16 Replies

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
England, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Susan208 I would really like to do this but our place has no kitchen (it's an annexe). 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Denver, CO
Host Advisory Board Member

That won’t limit your ability to host a refugee. 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Paddington, Australia
Level 1

How do I use my current listing to make it available on Airbnb.org? The system is asking me to re-start a full new listing. I would like to transfer the current one and make it available to refugees when not booked by regular guests. Is it possible?

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Denver, CO
Host Advisory Board Member

Yes. You can just opt in to be an airbnb.org host. You can set your parameters. You don’t need to create a new listing. 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

Administrator in
Oakland, CA
Administrator

Hi @Florence747 , 

 

I'm sorry for the difficulty you are having! There should be an option to select your existing Airbnb listing under the option to create a new one. A member of our support team will reach out to you to help provide assistance! 

 

Best, 

Kat 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Seattle, WA
Level 2

Excuse me, but I find Airbnb's involvement in this situation with Afghan refugees a bit strange. Also the way Airbnb is publicizing this hosting of refugees in a sort of casual manner, and without explanation or a chance to follow up with a real person at Airbnb. These refugees are already being taken care of by their sponsoring countries. For example, the US is housing refugees on their airbase in Germany until they can move them to their own accommodations in the US. This is a highly planned and organized process. So I would find it odd if some of the refugees went outside of the organized process to go to private Airbnb accommodations to stay with strangers. This is NOT the same as hosting someone for a holiday. These refugees have needs that I seriously doubt Airbnb, and most Airbnb hosts, are equipped to handle. I'm not even sure it would be allowed by governments who are taking care of this refugees as they are transitioning through the immigration process. 

 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

Administrator in
Oakland, CA
Administrator

Hi @Nicole684 , 

 

I'm happy to provide some more context and background about how temporary stays for refugees work through Airbnb.org. 

 

Over the past 4 years, Airbnb and Airbnb.org have housed 25,000 refugees in partnership with refugee resettlement agencies like the International Rescue Committee, Church World Service, and HIAS. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the US government and governments around the world work hand in hand with these and other resettlement agencies to provide services and case management to refugees during screening, processing, resettlement and integration into a new community. You can find the full list of UNHCR's US resettlement partners here

 

The temporary housing provided by Airbnb.org and the generous Host community is gap housing, which resettlement agencies need in between when a refugee individual or family arrives in the US, or is processed through a base, and when the agency can arrange permanent housing- which can take weeks, depending on the location and the capacity of the organization. 

 

Airbnb.org's nonprofit partners employ case managers who are responsible for providing refugees with resources and specialized support. Right now, only refugees working with a resettlement agency are eligible for Airbnb.org stays. When a Host signs up to host refugees through Airbnb.org, they will be contacted by a case manager on behalf of a refugee client. The Host will have the opportunity to ask questions and chat with the case manager to ensure their listing is the right fit before the booking is finalized. 

 

If you have any other questions about how hosting Afghan refugees through Airbnb.org works, you can read this article in the Resource Center. I hope this helps! 

 

Best, 

Kat 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Seattle, WA
Level 2

Thank you for explaining the context and details. However, I think this explanation needs to be made upfront. The email I received made hosting refugees seem like a casual thing, a sort of easy way to help out the refugees. 

 

I have worked with SIV refugees through IRAP way before this current crisis. I suppose it is good to have as many realistic housing options as possible. But based on my extensive experience as an Airbnb guest, I don't think a typical Airbnb stay would be a great option. I think there are much better options available to the vast majority of refugees specifically from Afghanistan.  

 

In the meantime, there are many people struggling due to the pandemic, with mass evictions looming in the US. Housing and rent prices are sky-rocketing at unprecedented levels, making it impossible for low-income people to live in many cities near their workplaces. There are also many people who are stranded in other countries due to Covid travel restrictions-- for example, many Australians who are not allowed to return home, or have to pay thousands for a flight back. So surely low-cost or free Airbnb stays would help them also?

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Annapolis, MD
Level 2

So offer your home to them but we are responsible for the mess in Afghanistan so helping these people is a good thing.

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Annapolis, MD
Level 2

A friend is hosting a family. They ARE not going outside anything. They have a case worker assigned by the government who works with the host.  This is a positive, welcoming 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Georgia, United States
Level 9

After reading all available information provided by AirBnB.org, more recently further additional references, along with info current info offered by @Katrina143  in response to a post from fellow AirBnB Host, @Nicole684 , I had to make a very frustrating decision earlier this afternoon.

 

In a response to the post via .@Katrina143 on this topic I parsed her suggested link (IRL) which  directed me to data relating various procedures & protocols adhered to by sponsoring organization mentioned.

 

I appreciate and commend your dedication to AirBnB.org's effort to assist in such a vastly unpredictable  undertaking   @Katrina143.

 

As of this afternoon, after reviewing some of the information provided there,  I realize now, that no amount of upgrading my listing will better prepare me to assist such Guest with temporary quarters for their resettlement in the US without my being concerned that I may inadvertently offend my Guest through what would be considered a normal, morally and legally acceptable action - in line with acceptable present day conventions. Unacceptable. The refugeevguests are very vulnerable. I realized I have to opt out of this effort after reviewing extensive data not disclosed or provided here on this matter (data which invariably supports the comments made by @Nicole684  in her posts on this thread and in response to your replies to her post).

 

The legal liabilities and considerations regarding risk factors (ie. safety and liability via the occurrence of a Guest having severe emotional difficulties that are suppressed & suddenly surface after they are assigned to an AirBnB.org host listing). These factors are legitimate and presents risk to Guest, Host and possibly neighboring bystanders in their community.

 

In view of the current brief and condensed intensive orientation process for SIV Guests I must agree with Nicole684's commentary.

 

Such efforts in rapid resettlement of refugees is commendable, but the Hosts also assume the burden of "accommodating" unwittingly rash and unpredictable negative outcomes via their assigned Guest(s) - culture shock is not limited to SIV guests  The same is true for the assigned Hosts and Guest(s)' dealings with a culture that is very diverse and allows for more liberty with respect to different views re: gender roles and individual equality.

 

I strongly believe in what these organizations' efforts aim to achieve but the timeframe in which to prepare SIV guests hailing from a volatile environment and religiously orthodox culture (prone to violence NOT ONLY in retaliation to opposing forces) for resettlement in a country like the United States requires extensive and diverse orientation & not merely brief introduction and "crash course" into adjusting to a foreign culture and environment which allows & strives for diversity, equalityand less violent means of co-existing.

 

Imagine someone from California or Washington, USA being resettled in Kabul, Afghanistan (prior to OR during Taliban "take-over"). Three (3) months seems a bit brief to fully adjust or navigate and abide in one's brand new surroundings.  "Culture shock", as a result, would not be out of the question with respect to certain cultural differences (even with the best specialized & trained staff currently assigned to do so).

 

I had invested so much time and personal resources in redecorating & upgrading areas of my residence to make it even more suitable, secure and convenient to accommodate the requirements of AirBnB.org affiliate sponsors' CANDIDATE SIV guests.

 

After reviewing an extensive array of the legal documentation compiled regarding real life risks and the liability of partaking such endeavor in the role of temporary host for such resettlement has left me more than discouraged.

 

Regrettably, and with a very heavy heart, I have halted upgrading my Host listing for these purposes. It is the proper and sensible thing to do on my part.

 

In the alternative, I have decided to host guests independently (not affiliated with AirBnB.org) who were once immigrants and are now naturalized US citizens. They are homeless, without income, but own their personal vehicle (they do have their private means of transportation). They, too,  are experiencing emotional & physical hardship. They have no one to sponsor or shelter them. No one has offered to provide them with temporary housing, daily sustenance or employment. They are victims of what was once a severe and life threatening hurricane known as "Ida 2021".

 

The thought of selflessly but safely offering assistance to those facing extraordinary hardship after braving peril and turmoil is in itself, greatly rewarding to me.

 

I thank everyone who participates in the effort to assist AirBnB.org and the sponsoring agencies, and all who contribute  and donate to this effort. I also thank @Katrina143  and @Nicole684  for all of their posts and helpful contributions in thread re: this specific aspect of hosting through sponsoring organizations as were mentioned.

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

Administrator in
Oakland, CA
Administrator

Hi @Elizabeth2291 - thank you for putting so much thought and careful consideration into your decision. The choice to offer space through Airbnb.org is absolutely up to each individual Host. I also thank you for opting to use your space to help people impacted by Ida, it's an incredible thing to do! 

 

Best, 

Kat 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

in
Centennial, CO
Level 1

Hello,

 

Is there a way to JUST post your listing for Open Homes and not for the general public? I want to make sure it is not listed for the general public and is only listed for those in need? @Susan208 

Re: Hosting refugee families through Airbnb.org is a wonderful experience

Administrator in
Oakland, CA
Administrator

Hi @Heather1316 - great question! You are able to list your space for free exclusively through Airbnb.org, so you won't receive leisure bookings. You can do this by going to airbnb.org/refugee and clicking "Sign up to host a refugee." If you have an existing Airbnb listing, you will be able to select that listing to opt in or create a brand-new listing. If you don't have any listings, you will be immediately brought to the page to create a new Airbnb.org-only listing. 

 

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other questions, and thank you for your interest in signing up! 

 

Best, 

Kat 

Comment