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A European Airbnb for Refugees Has Placed Dozens in Volunteer Housing

From worldwide commentary on social media to the use of mobile phones by migrants during their journeys across the continent, the current European refugee crisis has been shaped, in part, by technology. So it may not come as any surprise that non-profits and social justice groups are looking for technology to help provide a solution. German group Flüchtlinge Wilkommen, or Refugees Welcome has built out an "Airbnb for Refugees," a platform that allows Germans and Austrians (and soon, Europeans in other countries) to offer space in their homes to those fleeing crises and wars in Africa and the Middle East. The Guardian reported last week that 780 hosts had signed up and 26 refugees from Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria had been placed in homes; the site now says their up to 128 with temporary homes, though the group's own updated stats page crashed last time we checked. The founders, Golde Ebding, Jonas Kakoschke and Mareike Geiling, aren't just arm's-length observers, either; Ebding and Geiling have worked with refugees before, and Kakoschke and Geiling are housing 39-year-old Bakari, a refugee from Mali, in their apartment.

The site helps match rooms with refugees by utilizing local charities and organizations involved in resettlement to help broker a match. Currently, the site suggests anybody interested in getting involved look towards micro-donations, crowdfunding and friends, as well as tapping government subsidies, as a way to pay for accommodations for their new guest. The founders have said they've been "overwhelmed" with offers of assistance:

The people who have opened their doors for refugees are diverse: among them are PR consultants, carpenters and many students; they are between 21 and 65 years old. More than half of all placements took place in flat shares. In addition, married couples, single households and young families host refugees. In Frankfurt for instance, a single mother is offering a private room to a young Syrian. The young man wrote to us that their new life as roommates is working so well that, in fact, he feels like a family member. In approximately one third of the cases, costs are covered by either the Job Center or the Social Welfare Office. Other flat shares come up for the rent privately and almost one quarter of the rents are paid for via micro-donations.
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