Airbnb.org is a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in times of crisis around the world. The inspiration for Airbnb.org began in 2012 with a single host named Shell who opened up her home for free to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This sparked a movement, and Airbnb Hosts have since welcomed thousands of refugees, asylum seekers, and people impacted by natural disasters.
In December 2020, Airbnb launched Airbnb.org, an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people impacted by large-scale crises to free, temporary stays with the support of Hosts and organizations around the world. Airbnb.org’s mission is to unlock the power of sharing space, resources, and support in times of need.
Since its creation, Airbnb.org has focused on ways to scale its impact and deepen its support for people, including refugees and asylum seekers, impacted by humanitarian crises. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, for example, Airbnb.org committed to providing temporary housing for 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine—its largest refugee response to date.
The UNHCR estimates a staggering 100 million people were forced to leave their homes as of 2022, including more than 37 million refugees and asylum seekers. Humanitarian crises like those that forced people to flee Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine often capture the attention of the world and compel people and organizations to take action. Long after the headlines fade, however, the needs of those displaced from their homes endure.
Since Airbnb.org became an independent nonprofit, the organization has been able to not just scale its impact and conduct large-scale disaster and refugee responses, but continue connecting people who have been displaced to short-term stays where and when the urgent needs continue. Thanks to a global outpouring of support from Hosts, nonprofit organizations, and donors, Airbnb.org met its goal to provide emergency stays for 100,000 people fleeing Ukraine in August 2022, and has connected over 135,000 people fleeing Ukraine to free, temporary stays to date. This marks Airbnb.org’s largest refugee response since beginning this work under Airbnb in 2012.
A significant challenge facing refugee resettlement is the fact that many recent humanitarian emergencies, like the war in Ukraine, have caused displacement in urban areas where there are limited options for providing mass shelter via camps and settlements. Airbnb.org offers an innovative and highly scalable solution to the challenge by leveraging Airbnb’s technology, platform, and Host community to quickly connect refugees to free, short-term stays with Hosts on Airbnb. Since Airbnb.org’s founding in December 2020, more than 91,000 Hosts across 189 countries and regions have signed up to house guests through Airbnb.org.
In June 2023, Airbnb.org also announced a $2 million Sponsorship Initiative to further its support for refugees and asylum seekers entering the US. Thanks to a generous contribution from The Shapiro Foundation, Airbnb.org established this Sponsorship Initiative to provide grants for housing support and match fundraising efforts of select refugee-focused nonprofit organizations that connect newcomers with sponsors in the US. The initiative supports expanded legal pathways for refugees to resettle in new communities in the US.
Airbnb.org has worked with over 70 organizations to date and continues to grow its network of partners, including international nonprofit organizations like the International Rescue Committee (IRC) HIAS, and ORAM; intergovernmental organizations like the International Organization for Migration (IOM); and smaller, community-based organizations such as Nova Ukraine and Community Sponsorship Hub. Investing in international nonprofit and government partnerships allows Airbnb.org to co-develop programs and better serve the communities it strives to support, including marginalized communities.
As an independent nonprofit, Airbnb.org has been able to significantly scale the disaster response and refugee support started under Airbnb by offering people additional ways to support this important work. Through Airbnb.org, people can continue to open their homes to those in need, and/or they can donate to help fund emergency stays for people impacted by crisis events. Donations have allowed Airbnb.org and its nonprofit partners to help exponentially more people in need.
Since becoming a nonprofit in December 2020, Airbnb.org has significantly scaled its impact – doubling the cumulative total of guests housed between the summer of 2021 and the end of 2022. Airbnb.org has also launched increasingly large responses to support refugees — including after the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan and after war broke out in Ukraine. To date, Airbnb.org has connected more than 34,000 refugees from Afghanistan and 135,000 refugees from Ukraine to temporary stays.
Since beginning this work under Airbnb in 2012, Airbnb and Airbnb.org have connected nearly 300,000 people—including over 215,000 refugees and asylum seekers—to free, temporary stays.