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Airbnb to help with refugee housing

Discussion in 'The Divine Future: Innovative Projects & Concepts' started by Linda, Jun 8, 2017.

  1. Linda

    Linda Sweetheart of the Rodeo Staff Member Global Moderator Administrator

    In the olden days churches and women's groups took care of many of the people needing assistance. However, with the decline in participants in those organizations, assistance fell to the government and a handful of non-profits. So, we have a couple of generations of people who don't really know how to help directly. Granted there is a need for the benefits that the tech and information world can provide, but people still need to get involved to really understand.

    Some time ago, I was a member of a Methodist church that sponsored a Somalian family. It was quite an undertaking. Finding housing and employment was easy compared with helping them make their way in our society and culture. We take our grocery and Target stores for granted, but for those who have had so little, it is a major shock. The family we sponsored thought we were nuts for having separate clothes for sleeping, and we had to explain that the gold jewelry in the check-out lane was not actually gold. It was the little things that affected me - like hand lotion and frozen food. I saw our world through their eyes, and I was changed.

    Airbnb launched a new platform, Open Homes, that connects people willing to use their rentals for refugee families with organizations that are sponsoring them. The idea actually started with one woman during Hurricane Sandy, who wanted to allow displaced people to stay in her rental for free.

    Open Homes connects organizations seeking short-term stays and volunteers offering up their homes for a specific cause. When volunteers sign on, they’ll be able to specify the cause they’d like to donate their room or home to. Nonprofits looking to set up a family or individual for a few days or weeks while they suss out more permanent housing will be able to view lists of potential volunteers. The new platform automates much of the work that Airbnb has been doing manually up until this point.

    As this project takes off, the sponsoring non-profits will need more volunteers to help the families cope with their new surroundings. Look around and see if there is a chance to be of service. Fair warning - allow a lot of time for the first trips to the grocery or big-box store. You will be going up and down every aisle and answering a lot of questions.
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  2. Lila

    Lila Boundless Creation Staff Member Moderator

    I have seen the 'how many types of ketchup can there be?' look even on the faces of people who are from the big-store cultures, but who travel for a while to another country, or do some backcountry hiking or moutaineering. The culture shock on return can be significant.

    This is a great idea for those who want to help. Sounds a little like the idea that started the couch-surfing site, but with an emphasis on refugees:)
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