HOUSTON – The images of families stuck in basements and shelters in Ukraine as Russia continues to bomb the country are devastating for many to watch.
Julie Gallaway’s friend, Yuri, was able to get his family out of Ukraine, but she wanted to help get him money as fast as possible by booking his Airbnb.
“Of course, I posted it to Facebook with the hopes that others would see it and would participate and book some nights with his Airbnb,” said Gallaway.
Since the attacks began, many Ukrainians have had a difficult time getting cash from banks and money delivery services.
“It’s difficult for folks to get money directly out of ATMs, but at least this way it ensures money is getting into their direct accounts,” added Gallaway.
Marina Ostrowicki, who just opened up her Houston Airbnb to guests three weeks ago, said she wanted to help, too.
“I started putting in cities that were hit to see if there were Airbnbs in that area with people who were affected. I found some and started booking them and booked quite a few of them,” said Marina Ostrowicki.
Airbnb told KPRC 2 that on March 2 and 3 alone, more than 61,000 nights in Ukraine were booked around the world. More than 34,000 nights were booked by U.S. guests, and those numbers are rising.
Those who book a stay will never travel to the country, but the money will get to the owners the week they book the trip.
“I’m sure everyone feels helpless from over here. I think just speaking personally, it feels nice to be able to do something, regardless of what it is,” added Ostrowicki.
Airbnb said it will also offer free short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees who are leaving Ukraine.
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