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People are booking Airbnb rentals in Ukraine — not to stay, but to donate directly to hosts

Ukraine's refugee crisis grows
Ukraine's refugee crisis grows 03:01

People have found a direct way to help individual Ukrainians: booking their Airbnbs. A whopping 61,000 nights were booked in Ukraine on March 2 and 3, because people know the money will go directly to the hosts, whose lives have been upended as their country is being invaded by Russia

The home rental company is temporarily waiving guest and host fees on bookings in Ukraine at this time, a spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News. That means Airbnb will not profit from these bookings. On March 2 and 3 the total gross booking value to Ukraine was nearly $2 million.

More than 34,000 nights were booked by U.S. guests, more than 8,000 nights were booked by U.K. guests and nearly 3,000 nights booked by Canadian guests.

Several people who donated by booking Airbnbs shared their heartwarming responses on Twitter. Some hosts were shocked by the generous people willing to book their homes, even if they aren't staying.

Australian comedian Kristy Webeck said she booked some nights in Kharkiv on Airbnb "to try to send some tangible, immediate assistance." She shared the message she received from the hosts on Twitter.

"Good afternoon, we are sitting in a basement we have very poor internet," the message reads. "We are very grateful to you for words of support and material assistance."

Bridgette Chambers also shared her experience in booking an Airbnb in Ukraine. "Thank you for your help and support," the host wrote. "I invite you to Kyiv in peacetime." 

Airbnb is also encouraging hosts on their platform to donate their homes as housing for refugees. Others who want to support this initiative can also donate money that will go toward housing refugees. "To date, we have seen an overwhelming response to this effort, with more than 1.2 million visitors to this page," the spokesperson said.

Airbnb's CEO Brian Chesky tweeted early on Monday that 11,183 people have signed up in the last week to offer their homes to refugees.

Last week, Chesky announced on Twitter that the company was "suspending all operations in Russia and Belarus."

Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis and her husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, pledged to match $3 million of donations to help families in Ukraine, and said the money will go to both's refugee housing initiative as well as, which is organizing supply shipments to refugee sites. 

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