Airbnb pledges to house refugees in need, is relying on hosts to volunteer homes

Airbnb is helping people in need, but it's also achieving a profitable PR boost.

Feb 28, 2020, 4:52 pm*

Tech

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw 

Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Photo via MIA Studio/Shutterstock (Fair Use) Remix by Jason Reed

Airbnb is offering free housing to refugees in the U.S., although it is predominantly relying on the compassion of its community to help during the crisis.   

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky tweeted the offer in response to the highly publicized protests against the president’s executive order, which left families, refugees, and green card holders detained in airports and deported with no explanation.

The offer encourages Airbnb hosts to volunteer their services to house refugees and people who were affected by the travel ban.

According to a statement shared by Tech Crunch reporter Kate Conger, “Airbnb will subsidize the cost of necessary listings” if anyone requests temporary housing in an area with no volunteer hosts. Otherwise, the arrangement relies upon volunteer hosts signing up through the Airbnb website. 

Airbnb’s statement followed in the footsteps of Lyft‘s co-founders, who pledged a $1 million donation to the ACLU—and achieved a PR coup in the process. 

Lyft’s main rival, Uber, was in hot water this weekend after undercutting New York taxi drivers who were striking in solidarity with protesters at JFK. This meant the ACLU donation put Lyft on the side of ban protesters, while Uber users deleted their accounts in droves.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Lyft counts billionaire Trump advisor Peter Thiel among its investors. As ever, there are often dual motives at play when businesses make high-profile donations like these.

H/T Tech Crunch

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2017, 9:47 am