How Americans are using Airbnb to send money to Ukrainians – NBC10 Philadelphia

As the Russian military invasion of Ukraine continues to unfold, the Americans seek for ways to help. A creative option: booking Airbnb rentals in this war-torn country.

Sarah Brown, Airbnb host in Park City, Utah, booked a four-night stay in Kiev for $200, but said you can find listings for as low as $9 a night.

“For me, it was the easiest way to feel connected to a person like boots on the floor,” Brown told TODAY. “It seemed like the natural thing to do.”

After making her reservation, Brown messaged the host explaining that she lives in the United States and “wanted to send some love.”

“Thank you so much for your support and all you do for us,” the host replied. “It’s important and it helps us to survive in these most difficult days. It gives us strength and motivation. We remain in Kiev, hoping and believing in our Victory soon.

Brown noted that the listing owner receives their payment immediately. An Airbnb spokesperson confirmed to TODAY that all service fees in Ukraine are waived.

“It’s a way of giving money and giving it directly to the person right now,” Brown explained. “I can’t wait to do it again.”

Emilee Ayers, from Bayside, Texas, saw the idea on Facebook and booked two nights in Kiev for $80.

“I specifically looked for an Airbnb that was not a corporate rental,” Ayers told TODAY. “I wanted to make sure my money was going to a real person.”

Ayers, like Brown, received a touching response from his host.

He said in part: “You are so kind, you have no idea how it makes us feel in these difficult times…. I hope to welcome you one day to Kyiv, free and peaceful, when it’s all over. We [are] fight and pray.

“When we’re so far away, it’s easy to feel helpless,” Ayers said. “It’s a wonderful way to help out and feel connected.”

On Monday, Airbnb announced it was offering free short-term housing up to $100,000 to Ukrainians displaced by the war with Russia. NBC News reported that on Thursday, 1 million people fled Ukraine less than a week after the Russian invasion of the country.

“I have worked in refugee emergencies for nearly 40 years,” Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in a statement Thursday. “Rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this.”

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