Albertans send money to Ukraine by renting an Airbnb room without staying
Airbnb says more than 430,000 bookings have been made in Ukraine as part of a community effort to send money directly to Ukrainian residents, without actually staying overnight.
The initiative has raised $37 million and continues to climb since its launch about two weeks ago, according to an Airbnb spokesperson.
“We are waiving all service fees in Ukraine for all of these initiatives. So any funds that go to help Ukraine actually go to help Ukraine. So the funds are primarily used to provide the space,” said Matt McNama of Toronto on Wednesday.
Victoria Collins-Hood booked a weekend in kyiv through Airbnb but isn’t leaving her home in Edmonton to experience it.
She wanted to send funds directly to Ukrainians.
“I messaged the host and told them we support him in Canada.”
She thought it would be more immediate than donating to charity.
“Who knows when they’ll get the money, who knows where the money will go? How much of the money would go to them? But this way I’m helping a real person who needs help right now,” he said. said Collins-Capot.
Nonprofit researchers say it’s a good way to help those in the midst of crisis.
“In general, Ukrainians don’t want your stuff, they want money. They want the flexibility to apply those dollars flexibly to their needs on the ground,” said James Stauch, director of the Mount Royal Institute for Community Prosperity. University.
He then added, “We don’t know what their real needs are, so don’t assume we’re doing it by sending things that become a burden in most cases.”
However, one downside that Stauch says is worth considering is that many of those who need it most won’t have a place to offer on Airbnb.
“You probably don’t directly support seniors, you probably don’t directly support children, and you probably don’t support other members of marginalized groups who don’t have the luxury of being able to rent Airbnb space.”
He added that donating to charities, such as the Red Cross, will also ensure vulnerable people also receive support.
Amanda Gushue also made reservations on Airbnb and donated to the Red Cross.
“I know that such support takes a bit longer and I don’t know which hands it goes straight into, whereas this way it’s almost one on one, straight into their hands, straight into their pockets. And it’s quick, that’s the kind of support I think (Ukrainians) could benefit from the most right now,” said Gushue, who spent CA$500 on a week’s accommodation in the city. Ukrainian from Odessa, without intending to stay there.
For the other “support reservations” she has made, Gushue asked the host to consider paying him up front if he doesn’t have financial difficulties amid the Russian invasion.
“Some people don’t need the financial help, but they also find a way to help others with that help given to them,” Gushue said.
When it comes to housing openings in Canada, resettlement experts in Calgary say there will still be some preparation before spaces through rental and roommate websites can be offered in Canada for Ukrainians fleeing the war.
“Knowing that it will be a vulnerable population, children, and they will be a group of traumatized people. So we have to be prepared,” said Fariborz Birjandian, CEO of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS). .
Birjandian says Airbnb has offered $500,000 for a program to find temporary housing in Canada for Afghan refugees and he suspects there will be a similar program for Ukraine in the near future, pending global decisions and federal on Ukraine.
Airbnb is also opening 100,000 reservations for Ukrainians who need free accommodation, but most are used in Europe.
Airbnb executives also announced they would match donations of up to $10 million to subsidize stays for Ukrainians fleeing the conflict.
The Canadian government is also running a matching gift program for the Red Cross up to a maximum of $30 million through March 18.
A statement from another room sharing app called Vrbo reads:
“Vrbo has waived traveler service charges for property bookings in Ukraine and several neighboring countries. We are carefully monitoring the unfolding conflict in Ukraine and the broader situation and express our deepest sympathy to those affected,” said Mary Zajac, Public Relations Manager for Expedia Brands, Canada.