It may seem like a pretty chaotic and dark time right now, given Donald Trump‘s new travel ban. But as Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Well it looks as though Airbnb just turned on a light for the refugees who are affected by this latest political move.
To recap, Trump signed an executive order a few days ago that blocks any citizen from seven specific countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — from entering the States. People were then stranded and detained at airports all over, with no one quite knowing what was going on.
On Saturday, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) had a federal judge sign a ruling that said any stranded travellers could stay in the country for the time being. However, some airport officials have been ignoring that ruling, and others just don’t know what rules they’re now supposed to be following.
Now people everywhere — including refugees — have found themselves without a place to go. And Airbnb wants to help.
Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone not allowed in the US. Stayed tuned for more, contact me if urgent need for housing
— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) January 29, 2017
Brian Chesky, the CEO of Airbnb, has been one of the more outspoken business owners coming out against the ban. But we love that he and the rest of his company are taking it one step further and actually doing something to help in a positive and constructive way.
Of course, it helps that Airbnb already had a strong program in place to help people with their disaster response program, a program aimed at helping folks during natural disasters around the globe. So far, Airbnb has matched one million dollars in donations to the UN Refugee Agency and offered up more than 3,000 nights of free housing.
In this situation, Airbnb says that any refugees affected by the travel ban can contact them and they’ll try to match them to spaces where hosts have registered to help (Airbnb will subsidize the cost). The company will even waive its booking fees for these hosts as an added incentive.
“Our focus is on providing housing to people who have been negatively impacted by President Trump’s executive order, particularly people who were traveling to the U.S. and are now stranded,” a spokesperson of Airbnb said. “We are responding to requests from individuals who have reached out to us directly and we are also working with relief organizations to further identify people in need of temporary housing due to the travel ban.”
It’s nice to know that even with all the ugliness going on, there are decent folks out there willing to help. It kind of makes us want to go out of our way to use Airbnb the next time we take a trip.
Not that we want to visit an airport anytime soon, mind you.