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Vacation Home Rental Site Steps Up to Offer Shelter to 20,000 Displaced Afghan Refugees

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Airbnb, a vacation home rental site, is offering free temporary housing to around 20,000 Afghan refugees across the world, the company announced Tuesday.

“As tens of thousands of Afghan refugees resettle around the world, where they stay will be the first chapter in their new lives,” Airbnb CEO and co-founder Brian Chesky said in a statement.

“For these 20,000 refugees, my hope is that the Airbnb community will provide them with not only a safe place to rest and start over, but also a warm welcome home.”

Around 3.5 million people living in Afghanistan have been displaced, including around 270,000 due to Taliban advances since January, the UN reported in July.

U.S. military flights evacuated around 10,400 people from Afghanistan on Sunday.

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Another 6,660 were taken Monday, according to The Associated Press.

Airbnb.org, the non-profit side of Airbnb, will provide temporary housing for Afghan refugees through donations and contributions from Airbnb and the company’s CEO, according to the company’s website.

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Hosts can sign up to participate in the program through the company’s website or by reaching out to Chesky.

Around 1,000 Afghans were given temporary stays after Airbnb donated emergency funds and support to three organizations, including the International Rescue Committee and the Church World Service, according to Airbnb.

Airbnb provided another 165 refugees with housing after they arrived in the U.S. from Aug. 20 through Aug. 22.

“As the IRC helps to welcome and resettle Afghans in the U.S., accessible housing is urgently needed and essential,” IRC president and CEO David Miliband said in a statement.

“We are grateful to our partners at Airbnb.org and Airbnb for once again offering their support and infrastructure to meet this moment, providing safe and welcoming places for individuals and families as they arrive in the United States and begin rebuilding their lives.”

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Airbnb has helped around 25,000 refugees find temporary housing in the last four years and created a refugee fund with an initial $25 million to support refugees and people seeking asylum, according to the company.

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