(WJW) – It is estimated that 3.1 million Ukrainian residents have been forced from their homes amid Russia’s attack on the country. Many are seeking refuge in neighboring countries, but one new service is hoping to make it easier for supporters across the globe to help, too.
“Ukraine Take Shelter,” which was started by two Harvard students, is an independent online resource that connects Ukrainian refugees with potential hosts and housing.
Co-creators Avi Schiffmann and Marco Burstein said they hope their platform can help displaced Ukrainians find a safe place to stay as quickly as possible.
“We encourage everyone with spare space to post a listing and to mark their listing as filled once they have successfully taken in refugees,” reads a message on the site’s homepage.
It works like this: Potential hosts create their own listings on the platform, detailing the accommodations, the number of guests they can take in, what languages they speak, and more. Displaced refugees can search the platform for accommodations in their nearest city or town, along with the host’s contact information.
The creators told News Nation they were inspired to create Ukraine Take Shelter because they felt many similar resources were too confusing.
“If you’re a refugee, you don’t necessarily have time to be scrolling through pages and pages of documentation,” said Burstein.
Schiffmann added that the site had already connected numerous refugees with hosts in cities across the globe.
“We’ve had so many success stories from refugees getting successful sanctuary because of this website,” said Schiffmann. “I think that’s incredible that me and Marco here in the United States can develop this website that is then used across the entire world.”
As of Thursday afternoon, Schiffmann said on Twitter that Ukraine Take Shelter had more than 20,000 listings since launching March 2.
“We’re now looking to partner with existing experienced organization(s) that can help guide this project to be safe and secure as we continue to rapidly grow!” he wrote.