Preparing to host refugee guests with

Find guidelines to welcome people who are starting over in your community.
By Airbnb on 29 Aug 2019
5-min read
Updated 25 Aug 2023


When moving to a new country, refugees and asylum seekers are faced with understanding a new culture while handling many logistics, such as finalising paperwork and searching for jobs. Often, caseworkers at’s nonprofit partners assist refugee clients with these crucial tasks and help them find permanent housing. At times, refugees and asylum seekers have to navigate these challenges themselves.

As a Host, you can be part of a pivotal moment in someone’s life by offering a safe and comfortable place to stay while they temporarily settle into a new environment until they can develop a plan for their future and regain a sense of normality.

In this article, you’ll find tips on how to prepare to host guests who are rebuilding their lives. These recommendations are based on advice from other Hosts who have welcomed refugee guests and from nonprofit caseworkers who assist refugee clients.

1. Clearly communicate details about your place

Prior to booking, a nonprofit caseworker from one of’s nonprofit partners – such as the IRC and HIAS – or a prospective guest who has received a paid booking voucher may contact you to confirm details about your space. To facilitate this, please ensure your listing details are complete and current, and respond promptly to any enquiries.

It’s important to be aware that during a refugee crisis, such as the one currently affecting the people of Ukraine, the need for housing is urgent and immediate. In some cases, booking requests may be for stays of 30 days or more, beginning just a day or two after the guest’s initial outreach.

During the booking process, you can ask the guest or caseworker questions, and if the need arises, you’ll also have access to's specially trained support team.

2. Understand that refugee guests may need extra support

Nonprofit partners often provide their clients with necessary basics like food and transport as well as access to important services like healthcare, job placement, and long-term housing assistance.

Due to the large scale of the Ukraine refugee resettlement effort, the demand for these support services is extremely high. Guests are encouraged to first make an effort to take care of these basics on their own so that support can be provided to those individuals with the greatest need.

As a Host, you may choose to provide guidance on local resources to help your guests acclimatise to their new community, though that’s certainly not required.

“I went into practical mode as a mom”, says Host Sarah of Vancouver, Canada. “Did they need clothes? Should we put food in the fridge? Are they going to want help with grocery shopping?” She sent these questions to her guests’ nonprofit caseworker, who messaged back to say that the family she would be hosting might appreciate extra blankets and small toys for the children.

With his Ukrainian heritage and previous experience hosting refugees through, Host Adam of Ontario, Canada, was quick to offer housing to people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine. In addition to hosting his own space and the properties he manages, Adam says he’s happy to help guests rebuild their lives by connecting them with the Ukrainian culture and community in his area, such as shops, churches, and professional development classes at the local Ukrainian community centre. “I’ll ask them, ‘What did you do back home?’ and try to point them in the right direction”, he says.

3. Be mindful of privacy

The degree of privacy each individual or family prefers will vary, just as it would with any other Airbnb guest. Identifying areas of your home where guests can relax privately or connect as a family – a living room, a garden or other space – can ease the transition and help them feel welcome.

“The family [we hosted] could be as self-contained or social as they wanted”, Sarah says. “We were friendly if we saw them in the garden or putting groceries away, but we gave them space to do their own thing.”

4. Observe COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Airbnb has introduced guidelines and programmes to help Hosts provide a safer stay. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Wear a mask and practise social distancing when required by local laws and guidelines
  • Follow Airbnb’s 5-step enhanced cleaning process between each stay
  • Don’t travel or host if you’ve recently been exposed to or have symptoms of COVID-19
Learn more about Airbnb’s COVID-19 health and safety requirements

5. Get more resources

Refugee guests may have experienced serious hardships as a part of their journey. If you’re interested in learning more about refugee experiences, check out these resources recommended by our nonprofit partners:

Frequently Asked Questions

How are those fleeing Ukraine booking their temporary stays?
Once a person or family has been identified as in need of temporary housing, a nonprofit caseworker may assist them with booking a stay or the guest may receive a booking voucher, enabling them to book temporary accommodation on their own.

Hosts may be notified during the booking process when a reservation request is for emergency housing through

How long should I expect to provide housing for refugee guests? stays are typically booked for a few days up to a few weeks. However, as millions of people are fleeing Ukraine, nonprofit and government agencies are handling a high volume of aid requests, necessitating stays of 30 days or more for some guests.

Some cities have waived length-of-stay caps for refugee housing – to find out what regulations apply in your area, please contact the relevant local authorities.

What happens after a refugee guest’s stay ends?
During a refugee guest’s temporary stay, they may be working to plan next steps for establishing their lives in a new location, including finding longer-term accommodation.

Guests have direct access to’s specialised support team, who work closely with local nonprofit organisations for additional support if needed.

Due to the unprecedented scale of the Ukraine crisis, nonprofit organisations must prioritise offering additional assistance to individuals they assess as having the highest need. At this time, it is impossible to guarantee that every guest will be able to receive longer-term support.

In the event that a guest needs additional temporary housing at the end of their stay, they may contact to request up to two weeks of additional accommodation.

How do people become eligible for emergency stays? often works with nonprofit organisations and resettlement agencies specialising in crisis response and refugee resettlement to facilitate on-the-ground support, including assessing the needs and eligibility of potential guests. guests booking temporary accommodation on their own are required to set up an Airbnb account, which may include identity verification checks.

How does hosting affect my Superhost status?
For the 1 April 2022 Superhost assessment (including data from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022):

  • bookings will add to your total number of stays.
  • bookings will not affect the other factors considered during quarterly Superhost assessments, including reviews, cancellations, and responsiveness.

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29 Aug 2019
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