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Airbnb offers home to refugees

Airbnb, an online homestay network, opened the doors of its homes worldwide to immigrants and refugees affected by President Trump’s recent travel ban.

The company’s CEO, Brian Chesky, turned to Twitter to announce that free housing is available for anyone from the seven Muslim countries unable to return to the U.S. during the current ban. Chesky encouraged people to contact him directly if immediate lodging is needed.

Airbnb has a no discrimination policy and believes that “every community is a place where you can belong.”

The company seeks to find hosts that integrate this belief within the homes they open to others.

Chesky asked those who are able to host to join Airbnb in uniting nations through hospitality.

Haley Gehrke, senior education major, said, “What Airbnb is doing really shows unity. It gives people the opportunity to learn other cultures and be able to experience hospitality. It teaches people that being different is okay.”

“Open doors brings all of U.S. together. Closing doors further divides us. Let’s all find ways to connect people, not separate them,” Chesky wrote.

“It’s easy to feel helpless, but I think it’s really compassionate that they’re trying to help,” said Mattie Cannon, senior child and family studies major. 

Cannon believes no matter what side you take on the issue it is important not to neglect the people in need.

Becky Ramirez, vice president of Open Arms JBU, said there are opportunities to help out in Northwest Arkansas.

Canopy Northwest Arkansas, located in Fayetteville, provides housing for refugee families arriving in the area. Volunteers contribute by donating groceries, furniture and helping refugees during their transition into the community.

“They have been doing a lot of things ever since the executive order was announced in order to get letters sent and petitions signed,” Ramirez said.

Ramirez said there are also many ways to get connected with refugee organizations through JBU. One of those ways is the spring break mission trip to Atlanta. The group will serve the organization Friends of Refugees, founded by JBU alumni. Applications for the trip are located on JBU’s website under domestic mission trips.