Thousands Book Airbnbs In Ukraine To Send Money To People Impacted By War

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BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Thousands of people have found a unique way to help the people of Ukraine.

In an effort to send money to those impacted by the Russian invasion, people are booking no-stay Airbnbs at rental locations all across Ukraine. So far over 61,000 people have booked an Airbnb in Ukraine, which has netted nearly two million dollars for hosts in Ukraine. Samuel Randall of Airbnb said that figure is going up by the hour.

"It's picked up a life of its own," Randall told WBZ's Chris Fama. "We actually proactively waived our fees for new reservations in Ukraine."

The Airbnb hosts get the funds from the reservation about 24 hours after the booking was set to start. The effort is seen by many as a way to get funds sent out quickly to the people of Ukraine. People across the world have been participating in the grassroots effort, including Jessica, who told WBZ's Chris Fama she booked a trip to Odesa.

As a mother of five children, Jessica said she couldn't help but think about what the families in Ukraine are enduring right now.

"I think we all could so easily see ourselves in these people," she said. "I just want to give what I have."

This effort has even led to a new friendship for Jessica. She said she's gotten to know her Airbnb host and their bond is providing both of them with hope.

"She was very sweet, she thanked me and she said when this is all over I would love to have you come visit," Jessica said. "[It shows] they are still looking forward with hope that there is a future so I have that hope for them as well."

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Airbnb is also planning to provide free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 people Ukrainian refugees, funded through donations to the Airbnb Refugee Fund and the generosity of hosts.

WBZ's Chris Fama (@CFamaWBZ) reports.

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