Airbnb Inc (NASDAQ: ABNB) says it will arrange free-of-cost temporary housing for Ukraine refugees. The vacation rental company is counting on the generosity of hosts and donations to its Refugee Fund to help up to 100,000 Ukrainians.
CEO Chesky discusses the initiative on CNBC
Over half a million people have fled Ukraine in less than a week after Russia launched a military operation in their country. In a CNBC interview, CEO Brian Chesky said:
When this crisis unfolded, we realised there were going to be hundreds of thousands of displaced people. So, we went into action, reached out to governments and our hosts; we’ve secured funding and are now prepared up to 100,000 refugees. Frankly, we can house as many refugees as we have hosts.
It’s not the first time Airbnb has assumed responsibility to accommodate refugees. Last year in September, the California-based company offered free, short-term stay to 40,000 Afghan refugees after Taliban took over the Middle Eastern country.
What would the initiative cost for Airbnb?
Airbnb is yet to disclose what it will cost the company to execute its announced commitment to Ukraine refugees. It is also to be known for how long does it plan on hosting the refugees for free. Chesky added:
I’ve personally put in millions of dollars into this initiative. Other donors have as well. But the cost is unclear since we don’t know how many people we’ll house. We want to host as many as possible. So, it will be a substantial investment.
According to the chief executive, Airbnb hosts are encouraged to offer accommodation to Ukraine refugees for free. But those who can’t will be compensated by the company itself, while the stay still remains free for the refugees. ABNB has slipped about 20% over the past two weeks.
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