Ukrainian supporters make Airbnb reservations to ‘send some love’ to the battle zone
While many feel helpless amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, some are turning to Airbnb as a simple way to direct funds to those on the ground.
Sarah Brown, an Airbnb host in Utah, booked a four-night stay in kyiv for $200, but said you can find listings for as low as $9 a night.
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“For me, it was the easiest way to feel connected to a person like boots on the ground,” Brown said.
“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 Kyiv, hoping and believing in our victory soon.”
Ms. Brown noted that the listing owner receives their payment immediately.
“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.”
An Airbnb spokesperson confirmed that all service fees in Ukraine were waived.
Emilee Ayers, who lives in Texas, saw the idea on Facebook and booked two nights in kyiv for $80.
“I specifically looked for an Airbnb that was not a corporate rental,” Ms Ayers said.
“I wanted to make sure my money was going to a real person.”
Ms Ayers also received a touching response from her host.
“You are so kind, you have no idea how that makes us feel in these difficult times,” he said.
“I hope to welcome you to Kyiv one day, free and peaceful, when it’s all over. We [are] fight and pray.
Ms Ayers said Airbnb reservations were a way to feel connected.
“When we’re so far away, it’s easy to feel helpless,” she 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.
About a million people fled Ukraine in the week following the Russian invasion of the country, NBC reported Thursday.
“I have worked in refugee emergencies for almost 40 years,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, on Thursday.
“Rarely have I seen an exodus as rapid as this.”
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