Airbnb has announced a new non-profit organization designed to provide shelter for people in need during emergency situations.
While the world continues to grapple with the devastating impacts of natural disasters and uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the rental company has launched Airbnb.org, a non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary accommodations for people in times of crisis.
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According to the company’s press release, the inspiration for the non-profit began in 2012 when a host named Shell opened up her home to people impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Airbnb says her heroic initiative helped spark a movement and marked the beginning of a program that allows hosts on Airbnb to provide stays for people in times of need.
Since then, the program has evolved to focus on emergency response and providing shelter to evacuees, relief workers, refugees, asylum seekers, and frontline workers fighting the spread of COVID-19.
From Australia to France, more than 100,000 hosts have offered to open up their homes and provide accommodations to 75,000 people in times of need.
“Airbnb.org is a testament to our community’s generosity and the power of an idea that started with one host eight years ago and has transformed into a movement of compassion and hospitality,” said Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Chairman of Airbnb.org.
“Founding and supporting Airbnb.org allows us to double down on our efforts to help communities in need across the world in coordination with our partners, including the IFRC and CORE, to further amplify the generosity of our host community.”
Airbnb.org will allow hosts on Airbnb to provide free and discounted stays to people impacted by emergencies, including natural disasters and the pandemic.
These stays, which provide alternative accommodation and shelter options, are helpful to government and nonprofit partners in a year where the pandemic has made housing vulnerable people in traditional congregate shelters “extremely challenging,” says the company.
Hosts who support Airbnb.org by offering free stays or making recurring donations will receive a special badge on their profile to recognize their generosity and commitment to communities in need.