Ukraine Russia Crisis

A New Way to Help: Donate Directly to Ukraine Airbnb Hosts

People from around the world are booking virtual stays through Airbnb in Ukraine to help those in need without even traveling the country.

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You can help those affected by the unfolding crisis in Ukraine via Airbnb, using the online booking tool to send money directly to people in need.

There are many ways emerging for people to help, and Airbnb created a creative way to let hosts in Ukraine know the rest of the world is rooting for them.

"It’s pretty overwhelming," said Pat Kornychuk, referencing Airbnb ads she replied to and reserve a virtual stay.

Typically a user will go on Airnbn to book a stay for themselves -- this new option allows people who have no intention of traveling book a stay, and donate the money directly to the host in Ukraine.

On its website Airbnb says more than 61,000 room nights were booked in the war torn country in just two days by people from all over the world, more than half from the U.S.

"You just hit little button and see who it is you are donating to leave a comment you just tell them you won’t be visiting keep the money and the world is praying for you," Kornychuk said.

Six days ago Lauren Manella booked a week's stay in this two bedroom Kyiv apartment. The grateful host promised to also use the money to pay her staff.

The two women started chatting through the company's web page. They are still in contact.

"As of yesterday they were on the floor of a church in western Ukraine with her two children and elderly mother," Manella said. "Now headed to Romania looking for temp housing until leave for Tel Aviv."

Airbnb has waived its fees in Ukraine so the entire booking goes to the host. But how will you know if a listing is legitimate? Here's what we found out for you. Check the reviews and the names of the previous guests. In the case of Ekatarina, Manella found more than 750 reviews and learned the property was first listed in 2018.

"$20 a day for a room pretty damn cheap. You can’t even buy two cocktails in this town so why not?" Kornychuk said.

Airbnb announced it has blocked its sites in Russia and Belarus so no business is done there.

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