Help the People Of Ukraine By Booking An Airbnb You Won't Stay In

Mar 8, 2022 at 10:52 am
A marcher protests the invasion of Ukraine in Cincinnati on Feb. 28
A marcher protests the invasion of Ukraine in Cincinnati on Feb. 28 Photo by Casey Roberts for CityBeat

As Russia continues its devastating war on Ukraine, people across the globe are looking for ways to step up and help Ukrainians.

One novel way that has emerged to get much-needed money into the accounts of that country's citizens is by booking an Airbnb — and with no intention of staying in it.

Airbnb says it has seen people around the world "support Ukrainian Hosts by booking their homes and sending messages of support through the platform."  Along with support — like anytime you rent an Airbnb — the bookings digitally deliver funds to the hosts.

The company says that as of March 2-3, U.S. guests had booked more than 34,000 nights in Ukraine, U.K. guests had booked more than 8,000 and Canadian guests had booked roughly 3,000. Airbnb has also temporarily waived the guest and host booking fees on the platform for properties in the Ukraine.

Brian Chesky, Airbnb's CEO and co-founder, said on Twitter that the total 61,000-plus bookings equated to $1.9 million delivered to those in the Ukraine.

And while the company didn't invent this crowdsourced idea (as seen in Chesky's tweet above), it did declare it is doing two other things: stopping all bookings in Russia and Belarus and creating a platform where the public can sign up to host Ukrainian refugees.

At airbnb.org/help-ukraine, people can offer housing for free or at a discounted rate to refugees. Airbnb says the need is obviously very high in European countries neighboring Ukraine, but "Airbnb.org needs as many people to sign up as possible in order to meet the growing need." (Airbnb.org is Airbnb's charitable arm.)

The company says it works with nonprofits "that check refugee guests for eligibility and assist them before, during, and after their stays." By offering your home, you are agreeing to provide a bed and basic amenities for "a few days to a few weeks." Airbnb will be providing $1 million in liability insurance and $1 million in damage protection.

Airbnb itself is paying for short-term housing for 100,000 refugees by working with nonprofit organizations on the ground in Ukraine. And if you can't host, Airbnb has a fund where you can donate to help pay for temporary housing.

If you want to help, but don't want to go through Airbnb to do it, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a list of tips to look for when deciding where to donate and also has a website called give.org with vetted charities.

On that website, the BBB lists tips to consider before you donate:

  • Can the charity get to the impacted area? Not all relief organizations will be positioned to provide relief quickly. See if the charity already has a presence in Ukraine.
  • Should you send clothing and food? Local drives to collect clothing and food to send overseas may not be practical as the logistics and timing to deliver and disperse such items will be challenging. Relief organizations are better equipped to obtain what is needed, distribute it effectively and avoid duplication of effort.
  • Does the relief charity meet BBB Charity Standards? You can verify a charity’s trustworthiness by viewing an evaluative report completed by BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
  • Is the charity experienced in providing emergency relief? Experienced disaster relief charities are the best bet to help deliver aid as soon as possible. New entrants may have difficulty in following through even if they have the best of intentions.
  • Are you considering crowdfunding appeals? If engaging in crowdfunding, it is safest to give to someone you personally know and trust, and review the platform’s policies regarding fees and distribution of collected funds. If the crowdfunding request is from a charity, check out the group by visiting Give.org. Keep in mind that some crowdfunding sites do very little vetting of individuals or organizations that decide to post for relief assistance. Sites that take security measures will usually provide descriptions of these procedures.
  • Does the appeal make exaggerated financial claims such as “100% will be spent on relief.” Charities have fundraising and administrative expenses. Any charity claiming otherwise is potentially misleading the donating public. Even a credit card donation will have a processing fee.
The website also lists organizations accepting donations for Ukraine that have been accredited by the BBB. Those include: This story was originally published by LEO Weekly's sister publication CityBeat.