Per a new report from The Associated Press, more than 520,000 refugees have fled Ukraine to the eastern edge of the European Union. When speaking with the U.N. Security Council, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said that number “has been rising exponentially, hour after hour,” and would likely reach 4 million in the next few weeks.
In an effort to provide assistance, hotels and hostels with open beds have begun listing their properties on a new online directory launched by marketing agency Stay the Night in conjunction with Kash Bhattacharya of BudgetTraveller, according to a report from Skift. The main purport of the site, called Hospitality for Ukraine, is to share all relevant organizations involved in helping refugees on the ground.
“Witnessing the crisis currently unfolding in Ukraine, it’s easy to feel helpless,” said co-founder and CEO of Stay the Night Rosie Willan. “But there is an action we can take together as an industry. This campaign cuts to the core of what hospitality is all about — welcoming people in.”
Similarly, it was announced Monday that Airbnb and Airbnb.org, too, will be offering free short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder and Airbnb.org Chairman Joe Gebbia and Airbnb Chief Strategy Officer and co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk have reportedly sent letters to leaders across Europe — Poland, Germany, Hungary and Romania chief among them — offering support in welcoming refugees within their borders.
“While Airbnb.org is committing to facilitate short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, it will work closely with governments to best support the specific needs in each country, including by providing longer-term stays,” the statement read, noting that, as a company, they have connected more than 54,000 refugees and asylees to temporary housing through Airbnb.org partners over the last five years.
While further details of Airbnb’s plan to host refugees have yet to be released, the statement also points out that anyone in need of immediate support can find resources at the UN Refugee Agency in the meantime.
The effort, as Sean O’Neill points out, is not all that dissimilar from those of the early pandemic days when campaigns like Hospitality Helps helped amass an additional 1.2 million beds for emergency and front-line workers, courtesy of hospitality companies.
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