The crisis in Ukraine has left many feeling helpless, but some Massachusetts residents have found a way to provide support by booking accommodations they never plan to use.
They are using Airbnb to book stays at properties in the country even though they have no intention of actually going there. The goal is to help the Ukranian hosts who own the properties and help provide housing for refugees.
"It is certainly a way to get cash to people who need it very quickly," John Landry, a software developer in Wayland said.
Landry booked a week stay at a property in Lviv, which is located in western Ukraine. He wrote the host explaining that he will not be checking into the apartment, but he hopes someone will be able to use it. At the very least, he said it is a way to get financial support to someone who lives there.
"Anything we can do to help then sign me up," Landry said.
According to Airbnb, more than 61,000 nights in Ukraine were booked in just two days last week. The company is waiving fees for Ukranian bookings.
More on the war in Ukraine
Rebecca Reed, a mother from Framingham, already got a thank you not back from the host of her booking in Ukraine. It is being used to house an entire family.
"It just makes you emotional to think of yourself in that position," Reed said. "Being a mom of two young kids and being able to help a family with two young kids, it just made sense."
Both Reed and Landry said they did a fair amount of research to make sure the hosts actually lived in Ukraine and only had a few listings as opposed to property management companies, which would have several.
"I think finding the right person is key," Landry said.
Landry said once he did find the right booking, he could not help but feel like he has made an impact.
"I hope other people can find a way to help here because it’s such a horror what these people are going through," Landry said.