The Clewiston News

Airbnb activates Disaster Response Program for Hurricane Irma

Program facilitates free temporary housing in Northern Florida and Southern Georgia to evacuees

Airbnb today, Sept. 7, activated its Disaster Response Program to aid Floridians forced to evacuate from their homes in connection to Hurricane Irma as well as relief workers arriving to provide assistance.

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.

Airbnb hosts in the following Florida and Georgia communities are eligible to take part in the program and list their homes for free to evacuees and emergency relief workers:

• Florida: Leon County, Calhoun County, Franklin County, Jackson County, Liberty County, Gadsden County, Gulf County, Wakulla County, Madison County, Jefferson County, Taylor County
• Georgia: Decatur County, Grady County, Thomas County

These $0 listings are available for the next three weeks, until September 28.

“We are hopeful that our host community will be able to help make the evacuation process easier for residents and their families,” said Kim Rubey, Airbnb’s global director of social good. “Our thoughts are with everyone who might be impacted by the storm, and we thank the dedicated government and emergency response personnel who are keeping our communities safe.”

Airbnb’s Irma disaster activation strategy was developed in close coordination with local and state emergency management and disaster relief officials. As these teams assess where else the Airbnb community can assist with their efforts, Airbnb will continue to expand 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 and was activated to assist Florida residents during Hurricane Matthew. The program is currently activated in Texas and Louisiana to support survivors of Hurricane Harvey.

Background on how the Disaster Response Program works:
• Airbnb has contacted all of its hosts within the Northern Florida and Southern Georgia 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 “I can offer my space for free”
• 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 “I need a place to stay”
• The Airbnb platform then facilitates the connection between the hosts and guests
• Floridians 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 state/local taxes are waived
• The hosts may decide how long they wish to list their homes for free within the program activation window (September 7 – 28)