Hotels

Airbnb asks hosts to provide free rentals for COVID-19 responders

Airbnb is waiving fees on short-term stays for coronavirus (COVID-19) responders.

The home rental platform has introduced a new program to help connect healthcare professionals, relief workers and first responders dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic with “free” places to stay while working or self-quarantining.

“Medical workers and first responders are providing lifesaving support during the coronavirus outbreak and we want to help,” Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia said in a statement.

“We’ve heard from countless hosts around the world who want to provide a comforting home to heroic first responders.

“We are connecting our non-profit partners, government agencies and others with our incredible host community to work together in these extraordinary times.”

To enable healthcare providers and other COVID-19 responders to find housing, Airbnb will be working with the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the International Rescue Committee, International Medical Corps, and other non-profit organisations to help support their relief workers on the frontlines.

Hosts can opt into the program and have the option of opening their homes for free through Airbnb’s Open Homes platform, created in 2012 to meet the needs of people requiring emergency housing. If hosts are not able to host for free, Airbnb will still waive all fees on the stay.

The goal of the program is to offer lodging to 100,000 first responders, which Airbnb said builds on a pilot study launched last week in France, which saw Airbnb and the French government collaborate to offer free accommodation to COVID-19 responders.

Nearly 4,000 hosts in the country have offered their homes since the announcement on Tuesday.

In addition, the new program has been developed in accordance with health experts like epidemiologist and chair of Ending Pandemics Dr Larry Brilliant, in accordance with local and national authorities, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Airbnb has also launched a donation tool to help power even more stays for relief workers, with 100 per cent of proceeds to go directly to non-profits helping with COVID-19 relief efforts.

To donate, click here.

Featured image supplied by Airbnb.

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