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Airbnb Finds Creative Ways to Support Ukraine
Written by Connor Kim | Published. 2022.05.14 14:14 | Count : 138

[A guy looking up Airbnb on his laptop. Photo credit to Connor Kim]



While companies around the world chose to cut their economic ties with Russia in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, Airbnb has found more inventive ways to help Ukrainians that have been impacted. 

Airbnb.org, a nonprofit organization of Airbnb, Inc., announced that it will offer short-term housing for up to 100,000 Ukrainians seeking refuge. Airbnb hosts have the option to create new listings that are exclusively available to those seeking shelter through Airbnb.org or offer current listings for free.

Another method through which Airbnb offers support is “virtual” bookings, which allows Airbnb members to book rental listings in Ukraine not to actually stay there, but for the sole purpose of providing Ukrainian hosts with direct monetary aid.

“I first learned about ‘virtual’ Airbnb bookings through an Instagram post I saw in which a Korean celebrity booked a listing in Ukraine for one month to offer his support,” said Ji Youn Lee, a resident of Irvine, California. “I thought that it was a very clever and efficient way to get money directly into the hands of Ukrainian citizens by avoiding the delay, bureaucracy, and possible embezzlement of donations made to larger charitable organizations.”

A quick search on Airbnb.com for rentals in Ukraine shows that there are over 300 host properties, the majority of which are located in Kyiv. According to a representative of Airbnb, over $2 million was donated through bookings on March 2 and March 3, when users all over the world reserved over 61,000 virtual bookings.

“It was extremely easy to book a virtual stay,” said Ms. Lee. “All I had to do was pick Ukraine as my destination and over 300 listings popped up. It was actually more difficult to find a date to book my virtual stay because some of the rental properties were booked all the way to October. Some places are booked all the way through March 2025.”

Airbnb is by no means the only U.S.-based company offering a unique method of supporting Ukraine. Elon Musk has provided Ukrainians with the ability to stay online by giving them terminals that would allow them to utilize the Internet service of Starlink, a satellite network established by his space company, SpaceX.

Celebrity chef José Andrés, a Washington resident, and his nonprofit, World Central Kitchen, have mobilized and set up food trucks to feed Ukrainian refugees crossing the borders of Ukraine’s neighboring countries of Poland, Moldova, Hungary, and Romania as well as provide resources to support restaurants that have stayed open to feed the locals who have not fled the country.

Many companies are continuing to find new ways to offer support. However, with the outpouring of generosity comes the worry concerning those who use crises for their personal gain.

There has been growing concern across social media that some opportunists may take advantage of the Airbnb system by creating fake listings.

“I’ve heard about this potential issue,” Ms. Lee said. “I honestly don’t care if the fake listings are made by Ukrainians because they’ll still need the help. I only hope that those who aren’t actually in Ukraine don’t abuse the generosity of others.”

Despite the concern over scammers, thousands have continued to make virtual bookings, and virtual bookers across the globe have left reviews with words of encouragement and prayers of peace and hope for Ukraine and its citizens.









Connor Kim

11th Grade

Crean Lutheran High School



Connor Kim  hsr@dherald.com

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