About a week ago, Airbnb announced that it would be working with non-profits in countries neighboring Ukraine to help house 100,000 Ukrainian refugees:
This week, Airbnb customers have decided to take it up a notch by renting Airbnb listings in Ukraine as a way to get money into the hands of those affected by the war.
It's not quite what Airbnb was designed for, but a significant number of people are using the housing rental site as a way to quickly get money in the hands of Ukranian families.
How it works: People are booking listings in Ukraine, then letting their hosts know that it was a donation, not a rental. Because Airbnb is waiving fees, all the money can go directly to people in Ukraine.
Between the lines: The approach lacks some of the accountability and tax benefits of donating to a charity, but has an immediate, highly personal impact. According to NPR, such donations have already raised about $2 million.
There's always the possibility of fraud where millions of dollars in donations are involved, so anyone who wants to join in the cause should be careful to do a bit of common-sense analysis in their giving.
That said, the stories coming out of this are pretty dang inspiring:
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In hard situations like this, it's awesome to see people use creative new ways to help people in need. What a time to be alive!
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