Home sharing websites and app to help Refugees

Technology:

A home-sharing or temporary housing website and app for refugees and domestic violence victims.
The EmergencyBnB platform provides refugees and domestic violence victims a free place to sleep and live in temporarily.

Article: http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/06/27/emergency-bnb-refugees-and-domestic-violence-survivors
and http://www.citylab.com/housing/2016/06/airbnb-for-refugees/487913/

Sustainability challenge:

The current refugee crisis is undoubtedly the biggest social tragedy (and problem) our generation is facing. In addition to improving the refugee camps, we also need to find ways to re-integrate them back to society and help provide a home and a lifestyle (and possibly friends).

I remember my grandparents’ friends and some professors at Columbia recall their World War II refugee stories. All stories had a couple things in common – adverse and undesirable conditions (in Europe), and harboring refugees. Back then, for some reason, it was easier to trust the victims and welcome them into small family home. Today, the same thought may seem farfetched to some.

Using the AirBnB technology concept and applying that to help provide a temporary home to the victims could help solve this super wicked problem.

Stakeholders:

  • Urban dwellers that have a spare room in their home, and have access to the internet
  • Governments
  • International NGOs
  • Refugees and domestic violence victims
  • Website and application developer/company
  • Society at large

Process of implementation:

Currently the EmergencyBnB website has not gained enough traction. It has been the founder and a few other citizens that have contributed to housing refugees. However, with a few technological, security and marketing improvements, this concept could possibly be successful.

The process sounds simple: the refugees that need temporary accommodation in a foreign city/country can find accommodation by creating an account online. With a few reviews or government recommendations, security concerns can be eliminated. Once the host family has been finalized, the guests can move in and find comfort and possibly friendship in a new country.

Denmark has implemented several “buddy” programs to help integrate refugees better into their society. If several NGOs in Denmark have been running the Let’s Ride project (Website: http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/creative-integration-denmark-to-immigrants-let-s-ride-a-501869.html) successfully since 2006, I am sure implementing a technology solution for the refugee housing crisis will work too.

Current EmergencyBnB seems like a great, interactive and easy to use platform, however, it needs to be marketed effectively to truly drive the impact. It also need a few more security upgrades and support from international NGOs.

EmergencyBnB

(Image above is a screenshot of the website EmergencyBnB)

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One thought on “Home sharing websites and app to help Refugees

  1. This is a great idea. As stated in your post, it seems like biggest challenge is marketing the product. I wonder how many people in these circumstances have cell phones and whether it would be smart to create an app so people could more easily utilize the technology. Great post.

    Like

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