Why AirBnB Hosts Opened Their Doors to Hurricane Evacuees
Talk about corporate responsibility
AirBnB is best known as a marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world. What many don’t know, is that the company also has a philanthropic touch and has long been helping to house victims of natural disasters with its Disaster Response Program. In the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Airbnb is doing its part to assist evacuees and thousands of hosts have already welcomed people in need of shelter into their homes.
The program reached out to property owners with accommodations near the danger zones (specifically in states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina) and asked that they waive fees for hurricane evacuees. Many jumped on the idea. There are no incentives for people to open doors, other than to lend a hand towards others. “Our hosts do this because they want to help those in need,” Airbnb spokesperson Nick Shapiro told Wired.
The program was first created in 2012, after Hurricane Sandy struck the US East Coast and a Brooklyn host decided to rent out his property free of charge. The owner inspired thousands of other New Yorkers to follow suit to help hurricane victims and their families. In addition to offering meals and relief, evacuees now also had a place to stay.
The program has also provided resources and assistance for emergencies such as the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks, the earthquake in Ecuador, California wildfires, and more. Airbnb even partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to educate home-owners on natural disaster responses and assisted volunteers who were placed near disaster sites. Airbnb’s commitment to worldwide catastrophes is an excellent example of billion-dollar companies sharing their resources to help rebuild communities in times of need.