Airbnb activated Sunday its Disaster Response Program to aid Puerto Ricans forced to evacuate from their homes in connection to Hurricane Irma as well as relief workers arriving to provide assistance, the company announced.
In the event of major emergencies like Irma, Airbnb’s Disaster Response Program provides a tool to support neighbors helping neighbors, allowing residents who have been displaced — as well as emergency relief workers and volunteers who are coming in to assist — to find temporary housing with local Airbnb hosts who are opening their homes free of charge.
These $0 listings are available for the next three weeks, until Sept. 28.
“Today, Airbnb activated our Disaster Response Program to assist people in Puerto Rico who have been affected by Hurricane Irma. Our program enables those in need of temporary accommodations — including emergency relief workers and volunteers — to connect with Airbnb hosts in safe areas who are opening their homes free of charge,” said Kim Rubey, Airbnb’s Head of Social Impact and Philanthropy.
Airbnb’s Irma disaster activation strategy was developed in close coordination with local emergency management and disaster relief officials. As these teams assess where else the Airbnb community can assist with their efforts, Airbnb will adjust the territory where the tool is activated.The idea for Airbnb’s disaster relief program began in 2012 in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and has since grown into a global disaster response initiative that makes it easy for Airbnb hosts to provide space for people in need when disasters strike. To date, the program has been activated 75 times all over the world.
Background on how the Disaster Response Program works:
- Airbnb has contacted all of its hosts within the Puerto Rico activation zone to inform them of the Disaster Response activation and encourage them to take part in the program if they are in a position to help
- Hosts interested in listing their properties for free are being directed to follow airbnb.com/disaster, where they can opt in by clicking “Sign up your home”
- Airbnb has also contacted all Airbnb users within the evacuating territories to make them aware of this tool if they are in need of shelter
- The evacuees are being directed to follow the same link — airbnb.com/disaster — where they can locate free listings within close proximity by clicking “Find Shelter”
- The Airbnb platform then facilitates the connection between the hosts and guests
- Puerto Ricans who are not currently Airbnb users are still able to take part in the program either as hosts or guests — simply by creating a verified account on the platform
- In addition to the free listing price, all Airbnb service fees and local taxes are waived