Airbnb and Grassroots Relief for Ukrainian Refugees Are a Bad Fit

Volunteers provide refugees from Ukraine with relief goods after they arrive at the main train station in Berlin, Germany, March 15, 2022 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).
Volunteers provide refugees from Ukraine with relief goods after they arrive at the main train station in Berlin, Germany, March 15, 2022 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).
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AMSTERDAM—Back in February, when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, a meme went viral on Facebook: “Just booked a Kiev AirBnB for 1 week, simply as a means of getting cash into the hands of Kiev residents. It’s really cheap and can make a small difference right now.” The phenomenon, known as “ghost-bookings,” became a simple, personalized, grassroots method to provide resources to and demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine’s civilian population, while assisting Airbnb hosts in Kyiv who were housing internally displaced persons, or IDPs, fleeing from the invasion further east. This sort of grassroots effort has become not only common […]

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