On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order halting travel from a number of Muslim-majority countries, sparking nationwide protests at airports and leaving travelers stranded. Politicians and business leaders have criticized the order, including Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky who announced over the weekend that his service will be offering free housing to refugees and those barred from entering the United States.
“Open doors brings all of U.S. together,” Chesky wrote in a stream of tweets over the weekend. “Closing doors further divides U.S. Let’s all find ways to connect people, not separate them. Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected.”
He also offered a few details about the company’s new initiative.
At first, it was unclear how Airbnb planned to identify those in need beyond people getting in touch with Mr. Chesky on Twitter, but Airbnb has since launched a signup page where users can volunteer their homes to host a displaced traveler for free.
After signing up, Airbnb will contact you if needed. The company told TechCrunch, “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,” so if you’re someone who needs housing, the best option at the moment seems to be reaching out to the company or Chesky.
Several people have responded to Chesky’s original tweets asking for help. The Airbnb Help Twitter account has replied back to these inquiries, telling them to send details about their situation directly to email@example.com.
“Once we have identified individuals in need, we will work to connect them with a host who has offered free housing,” a company spokesperson told Inverse. “If free housing is not available in certain markets, Airbnb will subsidize the cost of necessary listings and ensure that those in need have a free place to stay. Our goal is to provide short-term housing assistance to these impacted individuals.”
Airbnb’s program in response to Trump’s ban is similar to the company’s already established disaster response function. The service has helped people find and offer shelter following natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires.
Photos via Getty Images / Scott Olson