Breaking News
More () »

People using Airbnb to send money to Ukrainians

People around the world have contributed about $2 million dollars to Ukrainians through Airbnb bookings where people had zero intention of staying.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Right now, so many people are looking for ways they can help Ukrainians and people in Oregon and around the world have decided on a novel way.

During a crisis, there are so many different ways to help. Historically people have given money to various organizations, like the Red Cross. Donation campaigns have popped up on sites like GoFundMe.

But increasingly, people have started asking: ‘How do I know where my money is really going?’

That was the case for Boring resident, Doug Silton. Silton describes himself as a professional dancer, choreographer, artist, adventurer and athlete. As he watched Russia invade Ukraine, he wondered how he could help.

“It's super surreal. I mean, I have friends who are there in the dance community, in the Burning Man community. You sort of feel stuck, right? Because obviously, it's horrible. We can't do anything from over here and every time I see a fundraiser, I'm like well, where does that money go?”

But as Silton scrolled social media last week, he came across an idea involving Airbnb.

“I logged into my Airbnb and I booked a unit that's being rented by an individual, not a company. I messaged and I said, ‘Look, I’m not going to stay there. I want to be able to donate the money.’ And she said, ‘Are you sure?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, like this is how I can give directly right now,'” Silton said.

He said he made sure the listing was nonrefundable. Once the person in Ukraine authorized the transaction, he canceled so the owner of the unit could rent it to someone else doing the same thing.

Silton is not alone. If you scroll news headlines and you’ll see, the practice is making a difference. People around the world have contributed about $2 million dollars to Ukrainians through Airbnb bookings where people had no intention of staying.

In an internet-connected world, this is one way people are trying to make a difference directly as they watch people suffer in real-time.

“There are rentals that go from like $12 to $200. So, I just chose one that you know, the donation was about 100 bucks and I was like, well, hopefully, this will help them out,” said Silton.

Airbnb has said it is waiving all service fees in Ukraine.

Airbnb is also offering free short-term housing for up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Since people started donating to Ukrainians through Airbnb, some have also started purchasing digital products from Ukrainian sellers on platforms like Etsy.

The idea is the same, for money to go directly to people on the ground in Ukraine.


Before You Leave, Check This Out