Airbnb debuting new program in Denver for housing refugees

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DENVER — The popular home-sharing service Airbnb announced a new “Open Homes” platform, making it easier for hosts to open their homes to refugees and displaced people.

Denver is one of the 28 U.S. cities where Airbnb is working with the International Rescue Committee to house people.

Anyone who wants to share their space with a refugee for free can volunteer to open their home.

The price of participating homes will be set at $0 and Airbnb will collect no fees on the bookings.

Earlier this year, Airbnb set a goal of providing short-term housing over the next five years for 100,000 people in need around the world.

The new platform makes it easier for relief organizations to book listings with hosts who have offered to share their space with refugees at no cost.

“In the past, it was really difficult for people to open up their home to someone in need,” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said. “Now leveraging Airbnb’s core competency is easy for anyone who has a spare room or apartment and wants to connect with relief organizations and play a small role in tackling this global challenge.”

Earlier this year, Airbnb pledged to contribute $4 million over the next four years to the International Rescue Committee to support the most critical needs of displaced populations globally.

According the Denver’s Human Rights and Community Partnerships, 16 percent of Denver residents were born in another country.