Airbnb doubles commitment to Afghans in temporary housing
At the end of August, the Airbnb colocation platform announced that he would offer temporary accommodation for 20,000 Afghans evacuated in the United States and around the world.
As tens of thousands of Afghans continue to arrive in the United States, the company said this week that it hopes to double the number of people who will stay in its temporary accommodation.
The company “will have the capacity to go beyond its initial commitment to house 20,000 Afghan refugees” through support and donations from hosts, refugee resettlement organizations, government partnerships and individual donations, by a corporate blog post shared Thursday.
“If demand for housing matches supply in communities where refugees are resettling, these new resources could help provide housing for an additional 20,000 Afghan refugees,” the message added.
Sacramento, Northern Virginia, Seattle and Dallas currently have the highest demand for temporary accommodation stays, according to Airbnb. To date, nearly 5,000 hosts have offered free or discounted stays to Afghan evacuees, and the company hopes to recruit more volunteer hosts in the coming weeks.
It was not immediately clear how many volunteer homes are in the United States compared to international locations.
Temporary stays, which typically last one to two weeks, allow Afghans time to seek more permanent accommodation or a transit point between arrival and their final destination.
In addition to free and discounted accommodation offered by hosts, other stays are funded by Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky and donations to the Airbnb.org Refugee Fund, a branch of the initiative at company nonprofit, Airbnb.org.
In partnership with the government and nine nationally recognized resettlement organizations, Airbnb has so far placed 675 Afghan refugees in temporary homes in Sacramento, Seattle, Jersey City, Denver and Dallas.
“Resettlement agencies expect bookings to increase as more Afghan evacuees leave military bases and travel to communities where they will relocate,” the company wrote in part. “Airbnb.org is also working closely with partners to assess temporary housing needs outside of the United States with the goal of expanding to other countries that are committed to resettling significant numbers of Afghan refugees. “
The United States plans to resettle approximately 65,000 Afghans by the end of September and 95,000 by September 2022.
Last week, the Biden administration gave states provisional figures on how many evacuees they can expect from the first group of more than 37,000 Afghans already in the United States.
Alabama and Mississippi are each expected to host 10, according to US officials. Hawaii, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and the District of Columbia are not expected to resettle anyone from the first group of evacuees who fled in the final days of the chaotic withdrawal from the United States last month.
States with historically high numbers of Afghans resettled in the United States over the past 20 years – including California, Maryland, Texas and Virginia – are again hosting a disproportionate number of evacuees, the data shows. Many gravitate to northern Virginia, the Maryland suburbs of DC, and northern California – some of the most expensive housing markets in the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.