German volunteers launch 'Airbnb for refugees'

12:56 AM | 10 Sep, 2015
German volunteers launch 'Airbnb for refugees'
BERLIN (Web Desk) - A German group named Fluchtlinge Wilkommen, or Refugees Welcome, has built an “Airbnb for Refugees” allowing Germans, Austrians, French and soon more Europeans to offer space in their homes to those fleeing wars in Africa and the Middle East.

Airbnb is a website for people to list, find and rent housing, rooms, or apartments. It has over a million listings in over 190 countries.

The volunteers can sign up on Refugees Welcome’s page stating their terms and conditions.

An external organisation then helps the volunteer and the refugee find one another based on specific requirements.

Several people provide small donations on a monthly basis to cover the rent.

After the process is done, the new flat mate will move in. The group encourages the landlord to help the refugees find language courses and internships.

Refugees Welcome was founded in November 2014. The Berlin-based website helps users who are willing to house refugees find someone who is a good match to be their new roommates.

Jonas Kakoschke, Refugees Welcome co-founder, told Al Jazeera that this is a chance for refugees to move out of mass housing.

“Mass housing is usually placed far outside the main cities which makes it really hard for the refugees to participate in German society. They are excluded and isolated, usually somewhere in a village or in small cities,” he said.

The site helps match rooms with refugees by using local charities and organisations and 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.