DENVER — People all over the world have stepped up to help those in Ukraine through the online vacation rental site Airbnb.
The website waived all service fees for users booking stays in Ukraine as a way to share support for Airbnb hosts currently unable to rent out their spaces.
"I just thought that this would be a good way to give back to people," Denver resident Ryan Montoya said.
Montoya booked stays with three different Ukrainian hosts this week, with no intention of visiting.
He sent a message to the hosts to let them know the place would be empty but their bank account would be full.
"We are just one person, but we can make a difference," Montoya said. "I knew it was a small part, but it was my part to give back to families that actually needed."
According to Airbnb, people have booked 61,000 nights and raised more than $2 million for Airbnb hosts in Ukraine.
After booking his stays, Montoya received messages back from the hosts, thanking him profusely for what he did.
"It made me want to book a lot more, first of all, just because you knew that it was touching these people," he said after booking the stays. "But it made me want to post it online and let people know this is something they can do to give back as well."
Montoya plans to stay in touch with these individuals and hopefully one day visit Ukraine to show his support in person.
"It gives me an in to go back when things have normalized and go spend money in their country and give back in that way so they can help rebuild everything that’s been destroyed in their lives," he said.
Airbnb is also partnering with the UN Migration Agency to connect people leaving Ukraine with free short-term housing in Poland, Romania and other countries.
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