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In Wake Of Devastating California Fires, Airbnb Offers Free Emergency Housing

In the midst of the devastating fires that are sweeping across California, Airbnb is offering emergency housing for free to those who have been affected.

Airbnb has a program called Open Homes that seeks to provide a place to stay for people who have been displaced due to emergency situations. The idea for Open Homes originated in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy hit New York and Airbnb hosts decided to open their homes for those who had to evacuate.

According to the Open Homes philosophy statement,  the program has “expanded to support evacuees, relief workers, medical patients, refugees and asylum seekers. We partner with trusted nonprofits like Mercy Corps, the International Rescue Committee, and the Bone Marrow & Cancer Foundation to develop the program and connect their clients with a free place to stay in times of need.”

All Open Homes stays are free.

In a press release, Airbnb explained that “existing and new Airbnb hosts in Lake, Mendocino, Napa, Solano, Marin, Sacramento, Glenn, Tehama, Sutter, and Colusa counties can now opt to list their homes for $0 and offer accommodations to those in need.” 

Already, more than 760 hosts have offered to open their homes to people displaced by the Kincade Fire, which is burning at more than 76,000 acres. Pacific Gas & Electric said that by their estimate, about 365,000 homes and businesses were without power after electricity was cut to avoid starting new wildfires. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, 7,091 residences are in the Mandatory Evacuation Zone and considered threatened, 12 residences have been destroyed, and five residences have been damaged.

The Airbnb Open Home program will run until Nov. 7th. If you are interested in providing emergency housing for displaced residents or emergency services and relief workers, you can visit this section of Airbnb’s website. You don’t even need to be a current Airbnb host to sign up.

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi