Did you hear about “Open Homes”? If not, and you believe that everyone should have a safe place to call home, this program might be for you.
In the Open Homes program, everyone can open their homes to those who’ve been displaced by disaster, those fleeing conflict, or those with life-threatening illnesses seeking care and respite.
“When disasters strike, many people are in need of temporary housing. Whether it’s neighbours evacuating or relief workers deployed to help, a home gives people much-needed space to figure out what’s next.”
How it all started
The idea of using Airbnb to house people in need came from a host in Brooklyn in 2012. She wanted to offer her home for free to people who had been displaced by Hurricane Sandy. Once Airbnb built the capability for hosts to volunteer their space, over 1,000 hosts joined in and they realised this wasn’t confined to just one event.
Since then, the team has responded to over 250 disasters, and hosts have already housed over 11,000 total guests (evacuees and relief workers) from over 52 different countries.
Displacement is something that affects millions of people who have to leave their homes because of conflict or political unrest—all people who could end up becoming our neighbours. And if Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where truly anyone can belong anywhere, they decided they must serve individuals and communities in greatest need.
Airbnb’s goal is to house 100.000 people in need by 2022. Hosts like you and me have already offered temporary housing to over 11,000 people who needed to leave their homes because of disasters, conflict or illness.
To support the hosts, they work closely with organisations like the International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps who are professionals in their area and can offer a lot of assistance. Airbnb does screening and checks of potential guests beforehand and conducts additional background checks in the United States. They also offer reimbursement for property damages and a 24/7 customer support team.
So what is your role as a host?
Your role is to provide guests with a welcoming space and help answer any questions that come up. To become a host, you simply need a spare room or apartment, a comfortable bed, basic amenities and toiletries and availability for 2 or more days in a row.
To read more about the program and stories of people being helped through the program, click here.