We have been moved by your messages from around the world regarding the migrant and refugee crisis happening in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. This is obviously an incredibly complex and heartbreaking situation, and we’ve been working hard over the past few weeks to determine how we – as a community –  can best achieve our vision of Belonging Anywhere in such trying times.

Our approach
At Airbnb, we take very seriously the trust that our community puts in our ability to powerfully and responsibly activate our resources. We’ve been working with our NGO partners to best understand how Airbnb can provide unique support to best meet their needs and then think carefully and creatively about how to responsibly educate and empower our community of hosts, guests and employees to help in the most impactful ways.

Activating to help
Providing free, welcoming and warm housing to relief workers is an area we can provide fast and meaningful assistance that no other company or community can give. So we’re providing travel credit to relief workers at Mercy Corps and International Rescue Committee (IRC) so they can have a place to truly call home while working in Greece, Serbia and Macedonia. Our NGO partners have told us that this is amongst the most helpful and immediate things we can do.

We have also launched a donations page, where we invite you to join us in providing financial contributions to UNHCR (The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), who is leading the global response to this crisis and will use the funding for the most urgent needs which includes providing shelter, water, food and medical services. We will support your generosity by matching your contributions with additional travel coupons (with an initial match of up to $200,000 US total) for relief worker accommodations.

Next steps
As many of you know, in the past we have deployed our disaster relief tool, which is designed to provide temporary housing for those in need of short-term housing after they have been dislocated as a result of a natural disaster like a fire or storm. After extensive consultations with UNHCR and other disaster response partners, we understand that our platform is not designed in a way that adequately meets the needs of refugees thousands of miles from home who need long-term housing and professional support services and are legally restricted from various activities.

Despite these limitations, we will continue to explore with our NGO partners ways that we as a community can help support the efforts of these vulnerable communities to Belong Anywhere.

Photo credit: UNHCR