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Airbnb's new nonprofit to provide stays for frontline workers, asylum seekers

Airbnb.org says its goal is to connect people with places to stay during times of crisis.

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Airbnb is rolling its programs to provide housing to people during times of crisis into a new nonprofit called Airbnb.org. The nonprofit, announced Monday, will provide temporary stays to evacuees, relief workers, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as frontline workers fighting spread of COVID-19.

Among its initial commitments, Airbnb.org is pledging $2 million to expand partnerships with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), two groups helping support communities hit by the coronavirus pandemic. CORE said it will use to Airbnb.org funding to pay for stays for frontline workers administering COVID-19 tests, conducting contact tracing and, eventually, helping at vaccine distribution centers.

"Founding and supporting Airbnb.org allows us to double down on our efforts to help communities in need across the world in coordination with our partners, including the IFRC and CORE, to further amplify the generosity of our host community," Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and chairman of Airbnb.org, said in a release. 

Airbnb started its emergency Open Homes program in 2012, where hosts on the short-term rental platform can open their homes for free to people in times of need. Open Homes and Frontline, a program to provide temporary housing to COVID-19 responders, will now just be known as Airbnb.org. 

The move comes as Airbnb is expected to make its initial public offering this month.