Airbnb.org and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have announced March 9 their partnership to connect people fleeing from Ukraine to free, short-term housing in Poland, Moldova, Romania, Hungary and Slovakia.
Over three million people have fled to neighboring countries by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Airbnb.org committed to offer free, temporary housing for up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine, and to date, more than 15,000 hosts have signed up through Airbnb.org to offer their homes for free or at a discount around the world.
“Airbnb.org is proud to be working alongside IOM once again, this time to support those fleeing Ukraine, and to assist in what has become one of the largest humanitarian crises of our lifetime,” said Joe Gebbia, Airbnb co-founder and chairman of Airbnb.org.
“We are grateful for the continued generosity of the Airbnb community, who have opened their homes to refugees or have donated to Airbnb.org’s efforts. If you have space to host, please consider helping Airbnb.org and IOM in offering temporary housing to those in need fleeing Ukraine.”
IOM provides vital support to migrants across the world, responding to emergency events and providing advice on migration policy and practice. Through this partnership with Airbnb.org, IOM will help provide temporary housing over the coming weeks and months for all those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
These stays are free and are funded by Airbnb, Inc., donors to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, and the generosity of Hosts through Airbnb.org. All Airbnb fees are waived for Airbnb.org refugee stays.
“The provision of safe, private and accessible accommodation is of critical importance,” says Deputy Director General Amy Pope. “IOM is proud to partner with Airbnb.org and help in providing a safe and warm place to stay.
“The winter is still quite severe in many places and providing warmth and security has an impact not only just the physical wellbeing of all those fleeing Ukraine, but also their emotional and mental state.
“Many will need a safe space to process the events of the last few days and to rest their weary hearts. We are grateful to all the hosts through Airbnb and Airbnb.org that have opened their home and their hearts during this time.”
IOM is on the ground, mobilizing teams and boosting capacity in Ukraine and neighboring countries to respond to the growing humanitarian needs of Ukrainians forced to flee the country, those internally displaced, and stranded third country nationals.
IOM’s priority is the safety and protection of all those fleeing the country and their ability to access assistance. IOM is screening and assessing potential vulnerabilities and risks, including for human trafficking, child protection, health and mental health, and the arrival of more vulnerable people with special needs, including elderly, wounded or sick people.
As of 4 March 2022, nationals from 138 countries have crossed the borders into neighboring states. Many left with only the clothes on their backs and a handful of prized possessions. Finding safety and shelter in an unknown place is daunting for many.
“I haven’t slept since the war started,” says Zoya*, at the Siret border between Ukraine and Romania, where over 150,000 people arrived since the start of the conflict. “We couldn’t take anything, just some clothes and documents. We have no relatives in Romania. I ran away with my three children.”
*Name changed to protect privacy
Photo credit: iStock/ Ruslan Lytvyn. March 7, 2022, Ukrainian refugees at Lviv railway station waiting for train to escape to Europe.