Preparing to host refugee guests with Airbnb.org
When moving to a new country, refugees and asylum seekers are faced with navigating a new culture while handling many logistics, like finalizing paperwork and searching for jobs. Caseworkers at Airbnb.org’s nonprofit partners assist refugee clients with these crucial tasks, and help them find permanent housing.
That’s where you come in. As a Host, you can be part of a pivotal moment in someone’s life by offering a safe and comfortable place to stay while they settle into a new environment and regain a sense of normalcy.
In this article, you’ll find tips on how to prepare your space to host guests who are rebuilding their lives. These recommendations are based on advice from other Hosts who have welcomed refugee guests, and from nonprofit caseworkers who assist refugee clients.
1. Clearly communicate details about your place
Prior to booking, a caseworker from one of Airbnb.org’s nonprofit partners—such as the IRC and HIAS—will reach out to you to confirm details about your space. To facilitate this, please ensure your listing details are complete and current, and respond promptly to any inquiries. This will help the caseworker gauge whether your space fits the individual or family’s needs.
You can ask the caseworker questions, and continue to message with the caseworker before, during, and after the stay, if the need arises. You’ll also have access to Airbnb.org's specially trained support team.
Nonprofits provide their clients with necessary basics like food and transportation, and access to important services like healthcare. Though you may choose to provide extra items, that’s certainly not required or expected.
“I went into practical mode as a mom,” says Host Sarah of Vancouver, Canada. “Did they need clothes? Should we put food in the fridge? Are they going to want help with grocery shopping?” She sent these questions to the family’s caseworker, who messaged back to say that they might appreciate extra blankets and small toys for the children.
2. Be mindful of privacy
The degree of privacy each individual or family prefers will vary, just as it would with any other Airbnb guest. Identifying areas of your home where guests can relax privately or connect as a family—a den, backyard, or other space—can ease the transition and help them feel welcome.
“The family [we hosted] could be as self-contained or social as they wanted,” Sarah says. “We were friendly if we saw them in the garden or putting groceries away, but we gave them space to do their own thing.”
3. Observe COVID-19 health and safety protocols
Airbnb has introduced guidelines and programs to help Hosts provide a safer stay. Here are some key takeaways:
- Wear a mask and practice social distancing when required by local laws and guidelines
- Follow Airbnb’s 5-step enhanced cleaning process between each stay
- Don’t travel or host if you’ve recently been exposed to or have symptoms of COVID-19
4. Get more resources
Refugee guests may have experienced serious hardships as a part of their journey. If you’re interested in learning more about refugee experiences, check out these resources recommended by our nonprofit partners:
- Learn more about working with refugees
- Read more about the current crisis facing people fleeing Afghanistan from our partners at the International Rescue Committee (IRC)
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