This weekend, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky made international headlines when he said that the company would offer free housing to refugees and anyone else impacted by the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration from several predominantly Muslim countries.
“Not allowing countries or refugees into America is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected,” Chesky posted on Facebook. “Airbnb is providing free housing to refugees and anyone else who needs it in the event they are denied the ability to board a US-bound flight and are not in your city/country of residence.”
In a company-wide email, he elaborated, “This is a policy that I profoundly disagree with, and it is a direct obstacle to our mission at Airbnb.” According to Chesky, the order goes against Airbnb’s core mission; the company’s purpose is to support the international exchange of people and the sharing of property, and the new executive order goes against Airbnb's core concept of “anyone to belong anywhere.”
In conjunction with the offer for free housing, Chesky added that the company is reaching out to employees affected by the ban, as well as those who work in the U.S. on visas or green cards, to reassure them that they had the “unwavering support of everyone at this company.”
Chesky’s announcement aligns with Airbnb’s preexisting company values. The platform has actively participated in refugee relief efforts for two years, since it first offered free housing to relief workers in Greece, Serbia, and Macedonia in 2015 in addition to incorporating a donation tool into its website so that Airbnb community members could contribute to the refugee crisis.
While it is not yet clear how Chesky’s offer will translate to logistically feasible housing options, an Airbnb spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company will leverage its existing disaster response program, which asks hosts to offer housing to people displaced by natural disasters and to aid workers. Airbnb has promised to share more details about its plan in the near future.
By condemning the new administration’s actions, Chesky has joined the ranks of numerous tech executives openly denouncing the refugee ban. However, Airbnb’s decision takes the verbal support of refugess a step further, by providing a tactical solution to combat the ban, as well.
At MetroButler, we fully support and applaud the actions of Airbnb and Brian Chesky’s leadership. MetroButler stands with them and MetroButler stands with all oppressed, disenfranchised, and underrepresented portions of the population that bring diversity and exceptionalism to the United States of America.