Airbnb doubles its pledge to house Afghan refugees

The company says it has the capacity to support an additional 20,000 refugees.

Yannis Behrakis / reuters

At the end of August, Airbnb announced it would offer free, temporary housing to 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan. Now, through its nonprofit, the company says it can go beyond its initial commitment. With help from hosts and donors from across the US, Airbnb announced today it's prepared to house as many as 40,000 refugees temporarily.

As Airbnb itself notes, that doesn't necessarily mean it will max out that capacity. "If demand for housing aligns with supply in communities where refugees are resettling, these new resources could help provide housing for an additional 20,000 Afghan refugees," the company said.

Since announcing the initiative, Airbnb says it has helped place 675 Afghan refugees across the US. "Resettlement agencies expect bookings will increase as more Afghan evacuees move off military bases and into communities where they will resettle," the company noted.

The need for temporary housing for Afghan refugees is dire, particularly in the US. Officials estimate as many as 65,000 refugees will arrive in the country by the end of the month. Additionally, another 30,000 could come over the next year. And that's just in the US. In August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said there were 2.6 million registered Afghan refugees worldwide. To that point, Airbnb said it's assessing the possibility of expanding the availability of the program to other countries that have committed to resettling Afghan refugees.