Airbnb asks its hosts to provide 100,000 free rentals to first responders

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Airbnb launched a brand new program Thursday that its CEO known as “free” housing for first responders coping with the COVID-19 outbreak. The program asks hosts — the individuals who really personal the properties which are booked by way of Airbnb’s platform — to donate the rental with out reimbursement from the corporate, and apparently, to bear the price of following CDC-recommended cleansing protocols. The aim is to supply lodging to 100,000 first responders, the corporate says.

As of three:30PM ET, CEO Brian Chesky tweeted, 12,000 hosts had “opened up their homes” underneath this system.

Update: 12,000 hosts have now opened up their properties to COVID-19 responders. Thank you, hosts.

— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) March 26, 2020

First responders in search of a spot to remain — both to be nearer to their work web site or to self-quarantine away from their households whereas they’re treating or interacting with COVID-19 sufferers — can join with hosts who’re making their properties out there by way of a new portal the corporate has arrange. Airbnb says the brand new initiative is constructed on pilot applications in France and Italy, which have seen 6,000 hosts provide their properties to docs, nurses, caregivers, and different medical assist workers.

The program is an growth of Airbnb’s Open Homes program, established in 2012, which lets hosts present free lodging in emergency conditions. Airbnb waives service charges on these transactions. Hosts don’t have to supply their properties free of charge, however will nonetheless have all charges waived by Airbnb.

Chris Lehane, Airbnb senior vp for world coverage, stated in an emailed assertion to The Verge that the corporate anticipates it is going to have tens of 1000’s of hosts open up their properties. “We also invested $20 million in last year alone to the Open Homes program including grants and travel credits to nonprofits to help fund free, temporary housing to people in need, as well as operational costs,” he stated.

It’s now soliciting donations to the Open Homes fund which might be disbursed to “partner organizations,” together with the International Rescue Committee, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and the International Medical Corps. The donations will “help power even more stays for relief workers while they do their critical work.”

Airbnb has created a “robust list of cleaning and safety protocols” for hosts taking part within the new program, and solely full listings — not shared ones — are eligible, in keeping with the corporate.

Airbnb declined to say whether or not it was going to assist hosts defray the prices of getting their properties cleaned per the CDC tips. A spokesperson stated in an e mail to The Verge that “Airbnb is contributing to nonprofit partners, and by waiving all associated fees on at least 100,000 stays is also contributing millions of dollars in kind. Essentially, any money Airbnb would’ve made as part of these transactions, on both sides, is waived.”

The spokesperson stated along with the standard charge waivers provided via the Open Homes program, “fees for other COVID-19 responder stays are currently being waived as well. For any paid stays in the program, such as those booked by medical organizations, hosts can still charge their own fees, including cleaning fees.”

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Airbnb noticed income of $4.eight billion for 2019 and was money stream constructive. The firm has $three billion in money, in keeping with Reuters.

Meanwhile, Airbnb hosts reportedly are struggling to e-book their properties after the corporate introduced that beginning March 14th it will offer refunds to any guests who canceled reservations via April 14th. The firm didn’t provide reimbursement to hosts underneath that new coverage.

The firm stated that underneath the $2 trillion economic stimulus package handed by the Senate Wednesday, hosts who’re recognized with COVID-19, or whose members of the family are recognized, can be eligible to use for unemployment insurance coverage, Reuters reported. Some Airbnb hosts could also be eligible for the small enterprise loans included within the stimulus bundle to cowl property prices like utility funds and mortgage curiosity, and to pay impartial contractors they might make use of to wash or handle their properties, Airbnb advised Reuters.