Airbnb launches a program in Milan where hosts can offer their accommodation to refugees | The Independent

Airbnb has launched a feature allowing residents of Milan to offer their spare rooms or apartments to refugees and migrants.

The home rental site has partnered with local authorities, the NGO Refugees Welcome Italia and the Community of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic organization, to create the Open Homes Refugees program.

The project was launched on Wednesday July 5 and has already seen more than 100 people sign up.

“We will support this great initiative in every way possible, and we are very proud that Milan is the first city to launch it in Italy,” said Pierfrancesco Majorino, Milan’s social affairs adviser. “Citizens of Milan are always very supportive of new and challenging projects, including the one launched a year and a half ago where families welcomed refugees from all over the world.

“These were very intense experiences, both for the families and for the refugees, but we are proud to be involved in vital work that is still ongoing.

The new initiative was inspired by last year’s Open Homes project, which saw residents open their homes to relatives of those hospitalized in Milan.

Hosts will be able to share their accommodation with people in need by applying via Active Airbnb hosts can share their listing for free, while new hosts will be guided through the process with a step-by-step guide on how to create a new listing – this will include identity and security checks.

The two partner NGOs will then be able to connect to the site to check availability and reserve beds for their clients.

Milan is a pilot city for the program, but anyone can register their listing on Open Homes across Italy.

The country has been inundated with refugees in recent years. In the last week of June alone, more than 10,000 refugees arrived from Africa via the Mediterranean route. The total number since the start of 2017 is said to be 85,000.

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