President Obama’s Call to Action: Responding to the Global Refugee Crisis

There are more than 65 million displaced people in the world today, the highest number on record since the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) began collecting statistics. More than 21 million of these people have crossed international borders in search of safety and are registered as refugees – and we all have a role to play in this global crisis.

Over the past year, we have worked with non-governmental organizations such as UNHCR, Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee, to develop a thoughtful approach to the global refugee crisis that would address both the global crisis and specific local challenges in places like Europe and the Middle East. Since October 2015, hundreds of relief workers serving on the front lines in communities throughout Greece and Serbia have stayed in Airbnb listings through our philanthropic travel credit program.

Today we are announcing further commitments in this area and are pleased to participate as a partner in the White House call-to-action for private sector engagement around this cause, with Airbnb’s co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia joining President Obama and other officials today to discuss the ways we can all support these efforts.  A few of the pilot initiatives underway include working with resettlement agencies to identify hosts in our community interested in temporarily accommodating refugees and an international livelihood pilot in Jordan.  We are also building on our existing travel credit program and fundraising commitments, with Airbnb matching the contributions of our community to UNHCR in a special campaign, up to $1m USD through December 31, 2016.  

We believe that our global community can help increase awareness, create a sense of belonging, raise much needed financial resources and provide technology solutions to specific obstacles faced by refugees and their families. Airbnb is proud to partner with nonprofit organizations, other private sector companies, and public sector entities responding to the global refugee crisis.

Photo Credit: UNHCR